Many reading this inaugural issue of The Perspective may wonder: why start a publication at a time when it is clear that the newsprint business model needs refining, and sustaining a periodical is becoming exceedingly difficult? How will our organization spread our message and reach our audience with assumedly limited financial backing? What do our contributors want to write that can’t be written in The Signal—an established media outlet? Is there something wrong with The Signal?
Why start a publication? That question has been answered (read the ABOUT section). Our business model? We’re not worried about the fact our magazine might not lead to excessive profit margins for the simple reason that we aren’t pursuing financial gain—we’re attempting to have our contributors’ perspectives spread and read. We’ve been fortunate to have the support of Campus Progress, which has provided us with a grant that will allow us to print three issues this semester.
What are we writing that can’t be published in The Signal? Our perspective. The Signal staff never shies way from asking the college community to write for it. In every issue, it implores students to submit opinions; the problem is, The Signal reserves the right to edit opinion pieces for content. This unwarranted and repressive policy is “not negotiable,” according to the paper’s Editor-In-Chief, Megan DeMarco.
It is completely understandable for Signal editors to edit their own reporters’ writing for content—they should have the right to control their own message. And it’s absolutely reasonable for them to edit opinions for grammar—a standard of writing quality should be kept at any publication. But to change the content of an opinion piece submitted by a non-staff member? That’s absurd. Having this belief isn’t being paranoid, either. I’ve heard from numerous colleagues, who submitted opinion pieces to The Signal, that editors there have changed (and thereby distorted) the message they attempted to convey. In the future, I hope The Signal decides to amend this policy.
Is there anything else wrong with The Signal? You should read it, and decide for yourself; but to me, it’s simply too soft. And that doesn’t mean it needs to become sensationalist, but it does need to start showcasing more lively, vigorous, striking writing.
It feels at times as if Signal writers are muffled or tamed, shying away from controversy. Signal reporters do not always interview President Gitenstein face-to-face, either—according to the President’s office. They send the President questions via e-mail and she – with the help of her advisors – sends back answers to the questions she deems appropriate. That’s soft.
The College needs a hard-hitting newspaper that will demand to have some difficult questions answered.
Let’s ask about safety—why does ResLife operate its security desks from 8pm-2am instead of later hours when students are presumably more vulnerable? Let’s learn about the budget—we’re cutting salaries and furloughing faculty, so why do we keep building and re-building and spending $150,000 on a spring concert? Furthermore in the realm of asset allocation—with all the money we spend, why isn’t our library open 24/7? And why is our campus not completely wireless yet? What’s really discussed during closed-door sessions at the Board of Trustees’ “Sunshine Agenda” meetings?
I wish I had answers, and I challenge The Perspective, as well as The Signal, to report on these matters.
The ramifications of The Perspective joining The Signal as a fresh, new publication are invigorating. Healthy competition has always bred improvement in quality.
Hopefully soon enough in the future, the famed Cop Shop column will not be the only column read by the College community. ΨΔ