Lindenlink adviser and journalism professor is set to leave Lindenwood


Photo by Ben Blizzard

Lindenlink’s staff of 2022-23 school year.

Sofiya Melnychuk, Editor-in-Chief

Lindenwood University’s journalism department will soon be saying goodbye to Professor Neil Ralston, who after almost ten years of teaching, has announced plans to take an indefinite break or potentially retire.

Ralston joined the faculty in August 2013 and has taught many classes, including reporting, writing, editing, media law, and more. When asked about classes he enjoyed teaching the most, Ralston said photography and basic reporting are the ones he appreciates a lot.

“Photography is fun for a lot of reasons. Teaching something that is so visual can be rewarding,” Ralston said. “Honestly, I [also] like teaching basic reporting. I like different classes for different reasons and if I had to teach the same class every semester every year, it would get really boring.    The variety of classes helps make it more interesting.”

Prior to becoming a part of Lindenwood, Ralston taught at multiple universities such as Western Kentucky University (2006-2013), and Northwestern State University (1999-2006), among others. In addition, before teaching journalism, Ralston worked as a reporter, editor, and photographer in various newspapers.

Throughout his tenure, Ralston was and is actively involved in various academic and extracurricular activities within and outside of the university. For around six years now, Ralston has been serving as the adviser for Lindenwood’s student news website, Lindenlink. The publication’s staff describe their adviser as inspiring and always ready to mentor students with valuable advice.

“I learned so much from Neil as a professor but also through Lindenlink,” News Editor Eva Laurens said. “I wouldn’t have wanted any other professor and adviser for my first three years at Lindenwood.”

Lindenlink’s Sports Editor Joshua Calloni said Ralston is a big reason why he enjoys being a part of the publication. He said Ralston’s presence is always known because of his valuable advice, fun conversations, and compelling stories.

“The insight he [Ralston] gives me, and everyone else in Lindenlink on what to write about, how to improve each story, and whatever else, is extremely valuable and helpful,” Calloni said. “I know that for me, it’s made me a better writer.”

Ralston said he hopes Lindenlink will keep improving and growing in its ability to connect with its audience.

“I would like to see Lindenlink do a better job in connecting with their audience, and responding to the needs of their audience so that the audience is ready to check out the website every day,” Ralston said.

Besides Lindenlink, Ralston has been an active member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Previously, he held various positions there such as vice president for the campus chapter affairs, and is currently a board member of SPJ.

Ralston’s personal experience in the field of journalism makes him a great source of knowledge and career advice. He said reading as much as you can, constantly learning, having an insatiable curiosity about how the world works, and keeping up with the news can be quite beneficial to one’s career.

“If you do those things, and you’re honest about doing it, you’re more likely to find a job that suits your talents and your abilities,” Ralston said. “I’m not saying it won’t be frustrating, because so much of the news now is really frustrating…I know it can be hard to read because very often it’s not happy news. But I think it’s something necessary for an educated person and extremely necessary for someone who wants to go into any form of professional media.”

Ralston said as he wraps up the Spring semester and goes on his long-awaited break, he plans to travel with his wife, work around the house, and take care of his grandchildren.

“His [Ralston’s] presence will be very much missed,” Calloni said. “Not just within Lindenlink, but Lindenwood as a whole.”

“I am very sad to see him go but I will never forget him,” Laurens said. “Best professor in the game.”