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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

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The campus megaphone

Published: May 2, 2008
Section: Features


We are your megaphone. This is the newspaper for everyone, for the entire community. No matter what.

This was one of the first messages that I was taught after joining The Hoot, and four year’s after our publication’s creation, I think it is still the most important message of all.

The Hoot is not, nor has it ever been, a filter of opinion, or a place where only a few get to present their thoughts on politics, campus events, or just the world in general. From the beginning, the philosophy at this newspaper has been that if a member of the Brandeis community feels strongly enough about an issue to commit words to paper, those words deserved to be in our pages. This was the promise of The Hoot: a space for everybody, an outlet for each of us.

I am extremely proud that The Hoot has always been a place where people with a variety of political and social views come together and feel comfortable. Within our pages, it is easy to find the staunchest conservatives sharing a page with the most radical of socialists. We have had Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians who have all earned the title of Editor. We’ve had pieces on sex, theater, race, and the Middle East conflict, from everywhere on the spectrum of belief.

Of course, this open approach does have its pitfalls. We have undeniably printed some awful articles; we’ve opened ourselves up to allegations of bigotry and unfairness, some of which were justified. However, after initially having to beg our columnists to write epic pieces in order to fill eight pages, we now often have more articles than we know what to do with for a 16 page issue. I think that this is a testament to our style, our attitude, and the understanding that we have with our writers and with the community at-large. We are a forum, a place for debate, and the venue for a back-and-forth between community members with opposing and often controversial viewpoints.

I’m glad that the community seems to appreciate what we have done. In four years, we’ve gone from crawling before the Finance Board, collecting SAF scraps, to receiving full funding, plus money for equipment; I like to think that our existence, severely questioned for over a year after we started, is no longer in doubt. I hope that we have ingrained ourselves into the fabric of the Brandeis community, that there is an expectation that The Hoot will be here, Friday after Friday. I hope that people find this paper to be a necessary part of our university.

In the first issue of The Hoot, the editorial board wrote that “we founded The Hoot because we believe that what Brandeis needs is a community newspaper. A newspaper written about, by, and for members of the Brandeis community.”

In 2008, Brandeis still needs a community newspaper. After a year in which the police were armed with little student input; a professor was accused of racism and punished without knowing what he had done; and a Student Union Executive Board was sworn in promising a new direction for student government, having an outlet for students, on every side of each issue, remains critical.

Debate breeds accountability. Voices incite change. Published discourse, appearing on campus week after week, can be stronger than any protest. This is what The Hoot was created for.

If you are a member of the Brandeis community, if you care what happens on this campus, if you are invested in this university and want to make it live up to its promise, then The Hoot is, and always will be, yours.