A letter from the editor

Typically, this works the other way around. Readers submit letters to the editor expressing their thoughts. We publish them. Conversation ensues. It’s a jolly good time.

Unfortunately, because we’re a bi-weekly publication and few readers write us expressing their opinion, it’s sometimes a bit difficult to sustain a relevant discussion. But, despite the extended time span and lack of letters addressed to me, a dialogue regarding our first issue has certainly been established on campus.

Because of this, it has to be said, I am overjoyed. We distributed a paper that you were interested in enough to pick up, and, even better, you were provoked, for one reason or another, to talk to your fellow students and colleagues about what you read.

And I’ve heard a lot of what you had to say. I have heard many compliments to our new layout and the new comics section, and I have read a lot of criticism, especially in reference to political favoritism and our spelling ability, or lack thereof.

So, in light of this discussion, I wanted to take a moment to respond and add to the conversation in hopes of encouraging this much interest in this issue, as well. First, in response to the concerns surrounding the significant democratic presence in our last issue, I would like to say that I completely agree; our first issue featured two democratic columnists with no representation of the republican voice. To many, it may have appeared as though we silenced the right-sided voice.

This being said, it should be noted that these columns were published in the “Perspectives” section of our publication. This section is open to anyone hoping to express their opinion, and so long as it is not defamatory and adheres to the college’s mission and covenant, it will be published. I cannot refrain from publishing something because of any staff member’s beliefs against it, nor can I force an article simply because I like and agree with its stance.

Simply, we are objective in choosing what articles are run, and what we publish does not necessarily reflect our own opinions So, unfortunately, only democratic columns were printed because only democratic columns were submitted. The only way for political views to become a leveled playing field is for more individuals to submit columns discussing his or her contrasting political beliefs.

Luckily, this issue does include the thoughts of a republican columnist, along with those of a feminist, an international student and a practitioner of shamanism, but I still encourage you to ensure your perspective on politics, or anything for that matter, is heard by submitting it to the “Echo.”

Another popular topic of conversation on campus was the paper’s use of “profosser,” “edition” and a couple other rather embarrassing mistakes that any editor would rather chew off his leg than to see in a newspaper, especially his own. This may a bit dramatic, but trust me. I felt it. The two editors before me were newspaper gods. This sort of thing would have never happened in their papers. I imagined how disappointed my advisors must have been after reading the mistakes, and I couldn’t believe how much attention these errors were receiving.

Students were asking me if I ignored spell check or if I was just an idiot in general. Facebook was ablaze with people’s flames regarding our publication. Even professors found it necessary to poke fun and express their annoyance with the mistakes.

But I guess criticism can’t always be constructive, can it? Reading all of this was difficult, and knowing that the first issue of the year had so many errors that I had looked over nearly killed me, but after gaining a bit of perspective, I’m so happy “profosser” is what everyone has chosen to focus on.

Believe it or not, “profosser” was a product of a lot of hard work. Editors spent a total of sixty hours during the article revision process, and our graphics editor along with his advisor, Adrienne Schwarte, worked for weeks upon weeks to build a new format for the new broadsheet style we feature this year. Pictures had been taken, edited and taken again, and the website was updated and backed up for a new year of articles.

Multiple editors were up for 36 hours or more ensuring the last little details were attended to. In fact, we were working up to the very last minute making those small adjustments that are miniscule but so very important. Throughout this process, we were even careful to check and recheck for formatting, headline and caption errors because Quark XPress doesn’t provide you the little red like when things are getting a little screwy.

I suppose this is how “profosser” happened. After staring at the same computer screen for two days with no sleep, stuff just starts to look the same. You don’t see “profosser” after spending seven hours removing oxford commas and rewriting stories in an effort to fill a 6-by-6-inch white space in the middle of your paper.All that matters is getting rid of all of that white.

This does not justify our errors, nor does it make it acceptable for them to occur in the future. But after considering how hard our writers and staff worked to make that paper amazing and how almost perfect it turned out, I’m pretty proud of that “profosser.”

So, finally, I would like to thank you. The only reason I, along with the entire staff, work to distribute a shiny new issue of “The Highland Echo” every two weeks is so you will actually read it. Without your readership, the only thing we can accomplish is the wasting of an astonishing amount of paper, ink and time. The debate and discussion that has resulted from our last issue is the most rewarding part of producing a newspaper. It’s inspiring and exciting, and it reminds me why I took this job in the first place. What you have to say about this paper matters to me, and, good or bad, I want to hear it.

Trust me, hearing that our paper is considered a onesided, democratic publication is not a good time for me, or anyone on the staff for that matter. And having Maryville College professors make fun of a newspaper that their own students worked on for two weeks on their Facebook walls isn’t that fun either, but I welcome the bad with the good. It has made us more careful and aware. It has made us slow down and enhance our attention to detail. It has made us want to work harder and ensure perfection, no matter how long it’s been since we’ve slept. It has made us, “The Highland Echo,” that much better.

3 thoughts on “A letter from the editor

  • October 10, 2012 at 2:08 pm
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    Chelsea Morgan is a total babe with brains! Thank you for finally creating a newspaper I look forward to reading.

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  • October 11, 2012 at 8:03 am
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    It certainly is unfortunate when one focuses on the negative, particularly when there is no real comprehension of the task being scrutinized. And while this is something I would expect to see from peers lacking in maturity, I find it completely unprofessional that a professor would find it acceptable or even necessary to respond in such an unproductive manner in a public format visible by all. This being the same professor that ultimately receives a paycheck that you, the students provide funding for through tuition. The same professor that holds a position intended to teach and reinforce a higher level understanding through his words and guidance.

    Kudos to you, Chelsea for a productive response consistent with higher education and maturity. On the sunnier side, you have provided a valuable lesson and example on how one should conduct themselves when faced with unfavorable antagonism.

    Congrats to all who had a hand in publishing the first issue, your accomplishments far outweigh any oversights. Remember, you are students, professionals in training. GREAT JOB!

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