From the Desk of the Editor: State of the Trail

By Andrew Benoit, Editor-in-Chief

A not so closely guarded secret of The Trail is the comprehensive digitized archive of our publication dating all the way back to 1895, when the student newspaper was called Ye Recorde. Back then, the University called itself “Puget Sound University” and would hop from new campus to new campus four times as it struggled with constant financial woes. The Ottoman Empire still existed, the Lumiere brothers had only just invented movies, and the first professional football game had just been played. Our archives preserve a unique history. The constant stream of new students on campus means that campus memory only lasts for four or five years. Luckily, each issue of The Trail acts as a snapshot of a specific moment in campus history.

The articles included in this issue are just as much a part of the history as any other publication that has been preserved. Safe in the archives, these pages will one day tell future readers about the concerns, interests and quirks of the present moment. How students, professors, staff and other community members etched themselves into the constantly changing social landscape of our University will be recorded in these pages. This secondary role of The Trail, as an historical record, makes our job – and therefore our conduct – that much more important. As the new Editor-in-Chief of The Trail I plan to continue to build on the reputation of honesty, respect and integrity that we have cultivated for the past two years.

Approaching our work with the vigorous spirit of independent journalists is essential not just for posterity, but for the current campus community we serve. Continuing to provide accurate and important information on issues and ideas that matter remains at the core of our mission. The Trail strives to continue to open spaces for conversation, discourse and expression. As the campus moves through its current financial difficulties and seemingly ever-present inadequacies in addressing issues of diversity and inclusion, The Trail’s duty to objective, responsible and independent journalism remains a cornerstone of the campus community. Our work covering the issues in the past two years has proven invaluable in sparking and focusing conversations on issues that matter. It will be my pleasure to uphold this legacy while constantly seeking ways to improve what we put on the page.

With this in mind, I strongly encourage any and all members of campus to engage with us. Providing feedback on articles – in the form of Letters to the Editor or otherwise – enables us to continually improve. We hope to engage with and share as many diverse voices and perspectives as possible. Building bridges between disparate parties on campus is a job that requires active involvement from everyone. Please feel free to reach out to me with any feedback or concerns.

I also hope that a certain level of grace will be extended to our team as we work this year. As I often remind our staff members, we are student journalists. This means that many of us are still learning the difficult ropes of journalism, and it is inevitable that we will make some mistakes. When these happen, The Trail plans to respond to them in a respectful and caring manner and asks for the same treatment in return. Furthermore, “student journalist” does not just refer to someone who is learning journalism. It also refers to our other full time jobs as students. As with everyone on campus, all of our staff members are juggling dozens of responsibilities. We are students first, and journalists second.

Finally, I want to extend an open invitation to anyone interested in joining our team. Besides being made up of some of my favorite people on campus, The Trail is a great place to learn about campus, hone your writing skills, gain valuable experience and make lasting connections with people and organizations. If you are interested in telling stories that matter and having your name preserved in the archives forever, then please join us in the Media Room at 7:00pm on Mondays!