Newspaper a community effort

Newspaper a community effort

As I sit at my computer pondering what to write, so many different things come to my mind.

Should I provide some whimsical anecdote about the Simpson experience? Should I write about something humorous that has happened to me in life? Then it dawned on me that this is the perfect time to write about the one topic I deal with frequently as an adviser of the student newspaper.

Sometimes the reaction to the paper is very positive. And who doesn’t love positive feedback? However, sometimes I get negative comments, and every once in a great while, a really nasty comment about the paper.

It used to bother me greatly when I heard or saw negative comments, but after almost five years on campus and the belief that I have grown a somewhat thicker skin, I just breathe and answer the question.

I figured now that I have the space and the time to write this column, I will tell you a little bit about the inner workings of The Simpsonian.

First, I do not write anything in the paper. Save this column, I’ve never had, and may never again have, a byline in The Simpsonian.

Second, I don’t decide what goes into the paper. On Fridays, the editors get together as a staff and decide. They take input from the faculty, staff, administration and students. They get story ideas from writers on the staff. And to their credit, they listen to everyone and take a lot of ideas into account.

Then they sit down and decide what is most important. I help guide them, making sure the stories are focused and prudent to write.

I in no way tell them what to write. It is a student-run paper, and I truly believe in that. They need to learn how to make a paper run, and I’ll help them in any way I can without telling them what story to write or not write.

Finally, when there is a mistake in the paper, it’s not the end of the world. The editors do their best to eliminate mistakes, but even editors of commercial papers will tell you that mistakes are made.

When mistakes happen, the editors accept good feedback on how they can improve. Remember that everybody makes mistakes.

The only problem with a newspaper is that the mistake is printed 1,800 times and posted on the Internet. It’s not like any other college class where a mistake is kept between a student and professor.

It may seem like all I’m doing is ranting on the negative, but that’s not how I want this to be seen. In my time at Simpson, the faculty, staff and students that are willing to help the paper improve have really impressed me.

I want to especially thank all of those who help get The Simpsonian message out. It helps the students get some much-needed recognition.

The students can also benefit from constructive criticism. It’s something that everybody can use to get better at the things in their lives. I’ve always valued the feedback of people at Simpson as long as that feedback is genuine and sincere.

If you have comments or suggestions for the Simpsonian staff, consider attending the Reader Advisory Board meeting on Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. in McNeill Hall, Room 4. If you can’t make the meeting, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected].

I welcome any and all comments and am happy to talk to people anytime about the newspaper and the fine students that work on it.

And finally, to all the students who have worked on the paper since I took over as adviser in Fall 2005, thank you.

Your hard work and dedication to the newspaper make it one of the cornerstones of Simpson College.