State of The Trail
I’m very excited to bring you this first issue of Volume 104 of The Trail, representing the 104th year that the University of Puget Sound has had an independent student newspaper and the 104th year that a school without a journalism major has pulled together to produce a publication that aims—and hopefully succeeds—to serve the needs of not only the student body of the University but the Tacoma community as a whole.
Looking back at vintage issues such as the spread pictured from 1911—when it was called The Maroon—a lot more has changed than men’s fashion. Women can vote now. There were two world wars. We even renovated the S.U.B. Hopefully The Trail succeeds in reflecting the constantly changing conditions of the campus and the world.
One way we are adapting to the present is by continuing to take steps to increase our online presence. Our website, trail.pugetsound.edu, is updated every Friday at 7 a.m.; this year there will be more exclusive online content. We are on Facebook (The Puget Sound Trail) and Twitter (@PugetSoundTrail); in addition, Hey Yous can now be submitted anonymously online instead of exclusively in paper form to the boxes in Diversions, Oppenheimer and the Cellar (though the boxes are still fully functional!) at heyyoupugetsound.tumblr.com.
We will also be continuing to distribute issues of The Trail to nearby businesses, including Black Bear Yogurt, Bluebeard Coffee, Café Brousseau, Metronome Coffee and Shakabrah Java. If you are reading this in one of those locations, I hope this newspaper has something for you.
As an independent student publication, there’s always a fine line to navigate—on the one hand, we are a teaching organization; as I mentioned, Puget Sound doesn’t have a journalism major, so The Trail is often the primary way for students who are interested in journalism to gain experience and knowledge about the field. We exist, in part, to act as an outlet for developing writers, copy editors, editors and graphic designers.
On the other hand, however, this is a widely read publication—increasingly so in the past year under the leadership of last year’s Editor-in-Chief Elisabeth Schyberg—and it is vital that we honor our readers by producing the best quality content possible.
The most important aspect of The Trail for me, however, is its function as a platform for the multitude of voices housed by the Puget Sound campus and the Tacoma community. According to our mission statement, The Trail “provides an open forum for student opinion and discourse within the University.”
This means that as Puget Sound’s largest media publication we have the opportunity—the responsibility—to provide a place for marginalized groups and identities to voice their perspectives and claim a space that they have historically been denied. It is for this reason that, in an attempt to increase the representation of our campus’s various identities, I hired a larger staff of reporters than The Trail has done in years past, and that I recruited reporters regardless of journalistic or writing background.
It is also for this reason that it is so important to me that writers choose their own article topics, that the Happy Trail continues to promote discussion about sexuality and that The Trail be as receptive to feedback as possible.
I’ll say this again. The Trail needs your feedback and participation. Many of the writers this semester are new to journalism, but I’m extremely confident that they have the skill and drive to do their jobs well; what we’re missing is you, your voice, your perspective. If a reporter approaches you for a quote or a photo, please help them out. If you notice something amiss about the way we report a story, tell me about it. If you notice that something important is not being covered, bring it up. We strive to represent this campus and we can’t do it alone.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, concerns or story ideas.
For Puget Sound students and staff, I will also be holding office hours this semester on Wednesdays from noon to 2 p.m. in Diversion Café. I would love to hear from you with any similar concerns you have about the content of The Trail, or just to chat with you! We also publish Letters to the Editor that we find applicable and appropriate, sent to the same email address.
Let’s keep the discussion alive. And remember: the pen is mightier than the hatchet.