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Student Success

A passion for the press

Founding editor of new Oxford Free Press uses skills learned at Miami

Sean Scott
Student Success

A passion for the press

Sean Scott, from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, was introduced to Miami University during his junior year of high school. Despite his uncertainty about a specific major, the campus beauty was so captivating that Scott could imagine spending the next four years in Oxford, Ohio, enveloped in the nature areas and Georgian brick architecture that make Miami picturesque.

Scott will move his tassel at commencement on May 18 but not leave Oxford. He will be unpacking his passion for the press and his office and journalistic skills learned at Miami by continuing to focus on the Oxford community. Scott has been hired as the founding editor for the new Oxford Free Press, which is planning its first publication in June of this year. The publication will cover news in the Oxford community and surrounding townships. 

Scott's educational career at Miami will commence with majors in Journalism and Urban and Regional Planning and a certificate in Geographic Information Science.  

One of the first faculty members that Scott met at Miami was James Tobin, a professor of Journalism in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film in the College of Arts and Science. Tobin encouraged Scott to join the staff at the Miami Student. 

"Getting involved with the Miami Student newspaper was the most rewarding decision I made on campus," Scott said. "Much of what I've learned at Miami came from my experiences there, not just in classes." Scott credits Tobin for unlocking his passion for journalism and being a mentor during his four years at Miami.

The Miami Student (TMS), established in 1826, proclaims itself as “the Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies.” Scott followed Tobin's advice and joined the TMS staff during the fall of his first year on campus. This decision led him to serve as editor-in-chief during his final year at Miami.  

TMS has long been hailed for its excellence in journalism. Earlier this spring, the publication was awarded the title of best overall newspaper in the region, beating out student papers at universities with over 10,000 students in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and western Pennsylvania.

Scott feels that his time at Miami has prepared him for his future. "Miami has given me the confidence to be independent and make decisions but also plenty of experience working with others toward common goals,” Scott said. “I learned a lot about tackling ethical issues in my field, and I'm sure I'll draw on what my professors taught me throughout my career."

During Scott's tenure with TMS, it became clear that the Oxford community needed a local news source. The Oxford Free Press began in 1934 but, over many years, was reduced to a single page in a more extensive publication, the Journal-News, based in nearby Hamilton. 

On Jan. 28, 2023, the Journal-News halted the publication of "The Oxford Page," which ran once weekly in their more extensive publication. Scott and his student colleagues at TMS developed a new section focused solely on Oxford. The section covers city council meetings, Talawanda School District news, and stories relevant to Oxford residents.  

The student journalists and professors in the Journalism, Media, and Film department value local news's importance. In addition to "The Oxford Page" in TMS, the school established the digital Oxford Observer in 2018. The publication serves as a capstone course in which Scott was enrolled. The Observer is a crucial local news source and a training ground for student journalists. Miami embraces the fact that a dedicated community paper increases civic engagement, offers a centralized source of information on events and local government decisions, and helps to nurture a shared sense of community. 

“Early on at TMS, I became the beat reporter for Oxford City Council. The position made me appreciate the relationship between Miami and Oxford and how it impacts students and residents,” Scott said. “As editor-in-chief, I increased our overall coverage of Oxford to help community members stay informed. When the opportunity to be a part of the solution to news deserts in Oxford came up, it was the perfect blend of my majors and experience at Miami.” The community will be able to read Scott’s work later this summer when the Oxford Free Press begins publishing.