Dear Reader: This editorial is calling out to you, and it’s calling out about the very paper you’re reading it in. We need you, you see. Somewhere we lost you and your input. Our email account sits perpetually empty except for the occasional junk mail offering discount Canadian Viagra and Joe Biden addressing us as his friends, and we’re somewhat uncomfortable with him making that presumption.
With a sigh, we answer the phone, and it’s Cheryl from Discount Toner shyly asking to give her sales pitch to whoever buys our ink. We explain we’re not interested and hang up. “It wasn’t always like this,” we think before going back to work serving you. “It used to be a two-way conversation … ”
We’ve been here nearly a half-century doing it — serving you, that is. Of the $50.30 you pay per term towards the student activity fund, $2.75 becomes part of our budget, and in essence that makes you our valued subscriber. We’re paid — reporters earn $25 per story and the editor-in-chief earns $175 per issue — to provide information that will be helpful and relevant to your daily lives. More importantly, we do it as a work of love.
We’re in awe of the fact that, since 1965, The Torch has given journalists like us a real opportunity to be published in an award-winning newspaper. It’s the mythical break writers always dream of. We’re really grateful for that. Thank you.
But our purpose for existing is to give you a voice about the school, that isn’t directly from the school. Our job is to let you know what cool opportunities exist for you. Our job is to give you a laugh. Our job is to help you understand the complexities and politics of seemingly unapproachable entities, such as Lane’s Board of Education, that govern your academic careers.
Don’t misunderstand us. The Torch is an amazing opportunity for its staff, but only a fraction of its purpose is to serve its own employees. Without a community to engage us, to challenge us, we’re not fulfilling our purpose or our promise. We can’t be our best without you. We can’t fulfill our potential without you. Why aren’t you talking to us? Why aren’t you using the space below, traditionally reserved for your letters to us, as an opportunity to make your voice heard?
It would be easy to blame student apathy, but we know better. Lane is a hub of activity for students from across the spectrum doing incredible things. Last term, multiple student groups came together to found Lane’s food pantry, in an attempt to address the real need of hungry students on our campus. Lane’s student government worked diligently with several of the interest groups here on campus to forge a new Cultural Competency policy that will hopefully provide a safe and open environment for Lane students and employees alike.
Students are supporting each other, building a community together here. Maybe the community never fell apart. Maybe we fell behind. It’s easy to feel irrelevant in this age of super-computer telephones, and websites that fetch the exact information you believe you need.
We get lunch the same places everyone else does here. We overhear students questioning the new construction at the Center Building, the very construction we covered on the front page of our last issue. Does that imply disinterest on the part of students, or a message we didn’t broadcast over the right channels?
Should we give up and go home? No — we can still serve a very important purpose. Perhaps we’re just not where we need to be. Maybe we need to change gears. The Torch changes leadership yearly. Maybe without a focused and consistent approach we haven’t kept up with what you need. Maybe we just haven’t reached out enough.
And that’s where you come in, Dear Reader. How are you? Are we giving you the level of service you expect from a newspaper you pay for? Are we covering stories that are valuable and relevant to you? Are we working in the spaces you’d like to see us in? How can we work with you to be a better paper? What do you think about the things happening on your campus right now? We want to know. We’re students, just like you. We’re approachable, we promise. We have two official email accounts for you to reach us at (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org). We tweet @LCCTorch and we’re on Facebook at facebook.com/lcctorch.
Come start a conversation with us.