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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Here’s to four more years

Published: May 2, 2008
Section: Features

Let’s take a trip back to 2004, when all of the seniors who will shortly graduate were first- years. There was no Facebook, John Kerry was running for President, the Red Sox had yet to break the curse, and gas was about $1.85 a gallon. And finally, to finish off this list, there was no Brandeis Hoot. Obviously, much has changed in these four years, both globally, and within the pages of our newspaper. As one of the graduating seniors who remembers the beginning, it is amazing to consider how far things have come.

In the nearly four years of The Hoot’s existence, one thing has been a constant, and this is the idea of innovation and change. Since The Hoot’s inception, the publication has more than doubled in size, going from 8 to 16 pages in this short period. And for the first time ever, The Hoot produced several 20-page issues this past year. And not only in black and white, but in color, nonetheless! Though some might claim that dialogue isn’t really present at Brandeis, this serves as a testament that Brandeis students are passionate about a wide variety of issues.

Not only are students willing to divulge their opinions in one newspaper, they are willing to fill up two. Back in the early days of the paper, another publication, The Brandeis Watch, filled this void. At the time, The Watch was the “longest running independent magazine of Brandeis University,” having been a mainstay since 1980. It included many of the same issues that are still a part of our dialogue today: diversity at Brandeis, registering for classes, and even articles dedicated to sex. Unfortunately, The Watch had some financial problems and internal disorder, and died out.

But it seems that The Hoot has helped to fill this large void left by The Watch. As the campus has shown an increased appetite for dialogue and coverage of a variety of topics, The Hoot has added features and sports sections, has sort of given birth to The Blowfish (hence the name), and has also underwent major changes in its culture section, now Diverse City.

And finally, The Hoot has hopefully been able to help be a part of the beginnings of a major shift in our campus media. I am referencing the added emphasis on online media, an area that has been a fairly recent foray of this publication, and one that has been met with varied success.

Over the past semester, The Hoot has proudly hosted several debates for Union members, hosted SunDeis videos, filmed bands performing at our own Chum’s Coffeehouse, showcased various clubs, and hosted a variety of panels featuring members on behalf of numerous clubs. This means that for the first time Brandeis has an easily accessible audio and video archive of the past. One can go back and listen to the Union debates or campaign promises in a year to see how well candidates kept their promises, or simply watch a concert or event they were at.

Of course, our new media coverage is not as complete as it could be, but it is ideally a start of things to come. As the “community newspaper,” it only makes sense to perform this kind of outreach and truly further the goals that are a part of the core of our publication’s foundations. Unlike a print newspaper, there is no lack of space for this venture. The possibilities are endless. Every club could have their own weekly talk show, and every event could be filmed and archived forever. This is building a real community full of open forums and open dialogue, truly something that Brandeis should represent.

In no way is The Hoot perfect or immune to error. There have been several instances where this paper has been harshly questioned, most notably for the “I Hate You Thugs” poem from several years ago, and in no way have we forgotten this. Only being four years old, we are still learning from our mistakes and trying to improve for the future. This really is simply The Hoot 2.0 in more ways than one.

So here’s to four years having past, and another four years of The Brandeis Hoot, and by all means the possible birth of yet another newspaper in the next decade. And finally, here’s to increased dialogue and innovation within the Brandeis community over the coming years.