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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

EDITORIAL: Dont just complain about bad journalism, let your voice be heard

Published: February 4, 2005
Section: Opinions

Most of us came to Brandeis with the motivational words of our high school graduations still echoing in our ears. Go out into the world and make it a better place, we were told, or work hard and change things for the better.

But somehow, Brandeis students, made up of the nations great high school overachievers, have an internal reputation to be well, complaining whiners sometimes. Sure, this isnt always fair;

Brandeis students have done some great things when theyve observed a need that has not been met at the school. Irene Berlinsky 05 noticed as a first-year student in 2002 that the school had no competitive ballroom dance team, unlike Tufts, BU, Harvard, and others. Rather than whining, though, she went out and co-founded the Ballroom Dance Team, now one of the top achieving new teams in college competitive dance today (see last weeks Hoot article on the team).

The Hoot was founded when several of us saw a lack of focused campus-specific coverage in larger publications here. But the one area where weve noticed a great tendency to criticize in a non-constructive fashion is campus journalism. The thing that many students seem to fail to realize is that no campus paper is The New York Times. Articles are student-written, and editing is done by people like us full-time Brandeis students balancing course loads, internships and jobs, and hosts of other concerns. And we are all volunteers. While not every New Yorker could contribute to the New York Times, every student on this campus has an opportunity to improve the level of journalism here at Brandeis.

From complaints about everything from heavy-handed editing to lack of fact-checking and spelling errors, you readers have probably heard it all. Blame is tossed around in reporting scandals, and tempers run high while people talk about fault and responsibility. The fact is that the student papers belong to all Brandeisians. We took that negative attitude and channeled it in a positive fashion, making a paper to fill a niche in the Brandeis news world as well as we can. People have responded;

weve printed articles from everyone from the Republicans to the Democrats to Students for Peace in the same issue, and this week we have an article from our own Professor Harry Mairson (COSI).

So the next time youre reading an issue in The Justice or The Hoot and think hey, I could do that way better, follow through. Call one of the editors and start writing solid news articles, offer up your services as a layout wizard, or use your command of style and grammar to work as a copy editor. And then you can say with conviction that you have raised the bar for campus journalistic standards, and made a positive change. The all-volunteer student newspapers are your voice make them speak for you.