It’s sometimes easy to forget that the people writing your newspaper are people too. Even harder to remember, in a setting like a university, is that the people writing the newspaper are students too. We have full class loads; we have extracurriculars besides The Spectator; we have other jobs; we even have social lives. We say this because we aren’t perfect and while the newspaper is one of our top priorities, it is not the only thing we do.
We don’t say this so you’ll pity us, and stop making comments every time you pick up the paper. That’s never going to happen, it shouldn’t.
We’re glad you question us and make comments. Don’t stop commenting. It lets us know you’re paying attention. Call us out on things you don’t agree with. Challenge what we write, but be prepared for someone to challenge you back.
This is your newspaper too. Yes, there are other people who write for it and edit it, but that doesn’t mean if you don’t like what you read that you can’t say anything. That doesn’t mean that if you have an opinion about anything that the only thing you can do is complain to your roommates or friends. This is your paper. Use it. Write something.
The point of a university is to learn. This doesn’t just mean learn in the classroom. It may mean learning from your classmates, roommates, or the people you thought you didn’t like. It’s all about learning about new ideas, new cultures and new concepts. A university newspaper is a perfect place to provide a forum for that kind of learning and discussion.
A key aspect of a newspaper, the opinions page in particular, is to serve as a marketplace of ideas. What that means, as John Stuart Mill says in “On Liberty,” is that it’s an open marketplace for ideas and debate, and through such discussion the truth will prevail. OK, yes that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
So, offer us your ideas and your debates. Give us your feedback and questions.
Don’t sit back and take things at face value. This is an idea that doesn’t just apply to the newspaper. It applies to everything in life. Question everything. Demand more. Demand more from your newspaper, demand more from your professors, demand more from the university, demand more from your student government, and demand more from yourselves.