On a fortunate whim in the summer of 2009, I brainstormed with a few politically-minded associates about what a progressive newsmagazine at TCNJ might look like, and behold – The Perspective was born. I should admit, though, that at its earliest inception, the publication was to be far narrower in scope than what it represents today. Originally intended to cover only the overtly political, The Perspective is now understood to provide a more holistic – and fundamentally different – take on the college experience.
A thoroughly “political” understanding of the world, after all, must necessarily encompass that which is not normally considered a matter of politics: the “cultural,” the “philosophical,” the “arts.” Thus, we perhaps invited an inevitable juxtaposition with The Signal, which by contrast adheres to a far more traditional standard of journalism than do we. As stated in our inaugural issue: For us, the storyteller and his story are inseparable. This proclamation has made some queasy, and perhaps for good reason; editorially, our political leanings are unabashedly to the left. But nevertheless, as we have striven to prove, The Perspective serves as a forum through which well-articulated viewpoints of all ideological strands can be expressed.
Over the course of the year, friction encumbered our staff as we debated what course the publication should take. And friction was perhaps to be expected; we have tackled contentious issues and ventured into some patently uncharted territory. As a result, though most of us share similar political convictions, we have rarely found unanimity.
But despite a few setbacks, we seem to have ultimately attained our most sought-after goal: to foster a constructive dialogue both on our campus and in our wider community. We have made mistakes, and will make more in the future; you may have appreciated our content and style, or you may find it objectionable.
Regardless, we hope you have found that The Perspective is at least grounded in an earnest desire to advance our collective discourse in a meaningful direction.
In only a few short months, if you will excuse a bit of vanity, our publication has gone from a fleeting idea to a source of national headlines. What a remarkable testament this is to new media, technology having shattered the barriers long erected between he who consumes news and he who creates it. Rather triumphantly, our story proves that perceived bureaucratic hurdles need not dissuade those who seek to make a difference in this world – a world of newfound accessibility and possibility. If we have truly been successful, we must have helped to usher in a new era of journalism – a journalism passionately devoted to serving the public interest. In this unprecedented informational landscape, those who have struggled to find a voice are now only a few mouse clicks away from finally doing so.
Some may allege that our approach should cast into doubt the veracity of what we report. Let them. I, for one, refuse to accept that to be a journalist is to be a passive observer of the world, removed from its passions and emotions, all in pursuit of an arbitrary ‘objectivity’ standard that came about only when established media was usurped by corporate interests.
Indeed, those journalists remembered in history are often those well-known for their ideological persuasions. From Emile Zola in the late 19th century, to Ralph Nader in the mid 20th century, to Christopher Hitchens, Naomi Klein, and Chris Hedges today, journalists have always been to some extent activists; they have rejected the dogmas of convention. Under my direction, The Perspective has proudly followed in this celebrated tradition.
But with graduation just around the corner, it would be arrogant to expect that my particular vision for this publication should be a binding one; indeed, The Perspective is only what those on its staff make of it. So whatever shape this noble endeavor takes in the future, I hope my efforts will have laid the framework for a different kind of discussion on this campus, and by extension, the world.