In my three years working for The Trail, I have had the privilege of watching this newspaper in its struggle to grow into a platform for critical change and conversations.
I acknowledge that The Trail has struggled with misrepresentation in past issues and plan to implement a variety of solutions to this problem. With the creation of the managing content editor position, consultation of a professional adviser, thorough copy editing and fact checking, we hope to eliminate incidents of misrepresentation in future articles. Looking forward, I encourage the community to engage with us and provide both positive and constructive feedback to our staff to improve the execution of our articles. Please keep in mind that we can only represent voices of our student body if students are willing to participate, share and engage in topics and issues that our writers are trying to explore in the context of the University. It is imperative that students feel empowered to voice their thoughts about The Trail or the articles we publish, whether it be through writing a Letter to the Editor, leaving a suggestion at our table in S.U.B., coming to my office hours or emailing one of our editors.
There is no doubt that objective reporting is essential to creating a sense of credibility and balance to a story. However, it is important to reframe the way we think about objectivity itself to reflect the reality of impactful journalism. The expectation of journalists to “be neutral yet investigative; be disengaged but have an impact; be fair-minded but have an edge,” as stated by the Columbia Journalism Review, illustrates the challenges and dualities writers face in covering critical issues with not just an objective lens, but with passion. Objectivity should not be strictly defined as unbiased reporting. The world is nuanced; it is not black and white. Consequently, a journalist’s writing should reflect that reality. The reality that covering difficult topics requires more than just a balanced perspective.
It is vital that The Trail continues to act as a platform to accurately reflect the broad variety of voices within our community. We have the responsibility to provide a place for marginalized identities that have historically been unheard and who have been denied the opportunity to voice their ideas and perspectives. It is necessary to engage in difficult conversations with a sense of respect and intentionality when discussing topics sensitive to the identity of marginalized communities. We should welcome identity-sensitive language in a manner that promotes a safe and progressive environment of rhetoric that allows opposing sides to argue equitably in a non-triggering manner. The Trail strives to use language that is safe, accessible and empowering for all individuals.
I ask that readers take into consideration that The Trail staff is made up of more than 45 staff members, with content reflecting the diversity of our writers. Any one article does not reflect the opinion of our entire staff and rather offers one perspective on an issue that we believed was relevant to the Puget Sound community. The goal of our content is to spark conversations that inspire a variety of thoughts and responses in order to maximize our community’s potential for engaging in critical thinking and dialogue.
A few of the topics that we plan to address in upcoming issues include breaking the stigma behind mental illness, the lack of accessibility of rape kits to the campus community, the absence of racially diverse commencement speakers and University presidents and exploring the movement for sustainability on campus. If there is a topic you want to see in The Trail, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or in person to discuss the potential for a story.
To stay updated, you can pick up our paper around campus or visit our website, trail.pugetsound.edu; you can also follow us on Facebook, facebook.com/PugetSoundTrail, and on Twitter, @PugetSoundTrail to access our articles online and also help connect us with resources and people pertinent to the issues we are covering.
Feel free to visit me with any questions, comments, or concerns during my office hours in Diversions Cafe, on Fridays from 12:10 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to working with this community to make a difference through rhetoric, engagement and a passion for organizing ideas and movements.