You can’t please everyone. In this job, you can hardly please anyone.
Approval and trust ratings for journalists have been rapidly declining, with some polls reporting that people think more highly of lawyers and politicians than journalists.
Though perhaps for different reasons at Broadside, we feel similar animosity.
Last year, while waiting in line for a replacement swipe key at the help desk, I overheard two boys chatting animatedly about Broadside. One expressed his excitement to see the new issue out, to the confusion and ridicule of his friend.
He quickly explained that he only picked up the paper to mock the mistakes and laugh at the content.
Kathryn Mangus, the faculty advisor for the Office of Student Media, often reminds me that as the student newspaper, we are the largest classroom on campus. Each week, our learning process and trials and error are printed for the entire community to scrutinize.
Even the best students occasionally ask embarassing questions in class or bomb a test, it’s part of the learning experience. The only way that we can grow is to make those awful mistakes, whether it’s mispelling Virginia on the front page, printing the wrong date for an event or failing to fact-check how many people actually live in Canada.
I don’t mean to whine, part of being a visible group on campus, as well as a media source, is having a responsibility to the community to get things right. But at some level, I need for the Mason community, administrators, professors and students alike, to realize that we are not the Washington Post. We are students with hectic full-time schedules who work tirelessly to bring you this resource each week.
I wasn’t planning on being Editor-in-Chief this semester, and to be perfectly honest, the experience has been one of the most challenging I’ve ever faced.
I know that not everyone has such a negative view of this paper, I often get comments congratulating the staff for our hard work and dedication to learning a craft that is not a specialization at Mason. These comments are what make the long hours and stressful deadlines worth it.
But I’ve grown weary of the pushback, and I want to know what I can do to make it change.
In my first column as Editor-in-Chief, I talked about how my relationship with Mason is sometimes strained. I got some great feedback from faculty and students alike, agreeing with me that as a community we need to do more work to bring Mason to its full potential.
With another semester under my belt, Mason continues to be just as pimply-faced and awkward as we struggle against the challenges of a young university without a clearly defined identity.
Change comes slowly, but at the staff of Broadside, I believe we are making progressive strides towards it. If there is something you’d like too see in the paper next year, a criticism that you often repeat in public but haven’t taken the time or effort to email me about or just comments in general, I would love to hear them.
If you want to help, whether in the form of an article, a story idea or just some general feedback, please reach out. My honest belief is that Mason is what you make it, and Broadside is no different.
I’ll be back next year to tackle a full academic year of scandals, scrutiny and hard work, and as torn down as I am from this semester, I really am looking forward to the renewed opportunity.