I didn’t write a letter from the editor in the most recent edition of The Herald, if I had written one this is what I would have published:
I’ve fought hard for The Herald this semester, through both budget cuts and the general apathy of the HWS community. I don’t just do it because I am a masochist, I do it because on whatever day any HWS students wants to make their voice heard I want to make sure they have a medium through which to amplify their pain, struggle, or happiness, and that combined with informing the community of campus events is the purpose of The Herald. I dedicate the thousands of words I write, the sleepless nights, and the weeks of hard work to make sure that there continues to be a voice for the students of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (regardless of how many of you use this service) to that goal of being a providing a voice to HWS student. This can’t happen alone and what I need most is students willing to dedicate an hour to express themselves publicly. Write for The Herald, if for no other reason than because you want to make your voice heard when you feel that no one else is listening.
November 10, 2017
Dear Readers of The Herald,
“Democracy dies in the dark” is the recently adopted motto of the Washington Post. It speaks to a desire to shed light on the darkness that exists in a world where you have to fight to hear the truth.
It is because of that desire that journalists exist. It is to tell the ugly story that exposes the true lived experience of the voiceless that newspapers exist. The Herald exists to be a voice for students. All of our issues run with “by and for the students of Hobart and William Smith College” at the top, and inherent in that motto is that The Herald should provide a megaphone to the student body to express both a collective voice and an individual voice.
In my 3 years at HWS I do not think I have ever interacted with a student who is content with their experience at Hobart and William Smith. Either they are sick of the deeply ingrained racism, sexism and classism that exists on our campus, the consistent preference given to wealthy alumni over the wellbeing and happiness of students, or they are simply fed up with being denied for a course semester after semester that is make or break for their major but not offered enough to allow them to enroll (yes, I’m looking at you BioStats.) Everyone has an opinion on the HWS experience, but most keep that opinion to themselves or a closely guarded group of friends.
Hobart and William Smith Students are rightfully pissed off, but no one speaks for them. The Herald should be that voice for the voiceless that students need, but issue after issue we have worked to construct the same gleaming image of a flawed institution that the Office of Communications works so hard to force upon us all.
It was my goal when I began as the Editor in Chief to change this in The Herald, to make us the voice of the student, but we have failed to do that so far. I failed not because I did not focus on telling the truth of the HWS experience, but because no one wanted to tell that story; the story of the ugly truth that student journalism is intended to tell. Each meeting of the editorial staff brought a small group that had their gripes, but as I sat down to lay out each issue I was left with nothing to print to express that voice to the public. Rather, it stayed behind the closed doors of the Creedon Room, the door of a residence, or a private conversation in the corner of a bar downtown. Rarely was I offered the opportunity to print something that came close to resembling the voices of the students I interacted with on a daily basis.
In the week surrounding the November 3 edition I had the same conversation with several HWS students. I explained my involvement with The Herald, I explained that for the last edition I was in the publication office until 5am finishing the stories necessary to fill our copy, and attempt to scratch the surface of the student experience. I was consistently met with “you’re not doing this for credit or pay, why do you even bother.” I bother because the student voice dies in the dark. I bother because even if we are not telling the real story of HWS if students want to finally make their voices heard I want The Herald to be alive and available to amplify the student voice.
The Herald is here to tell your story. It wants to publish more than the fluff that makes HWS an appealing institution; it wants to publish how students truly feel. However, I cannot do this alone. You need to tell your story. Look at the flaws you see in our colleges, and use The Herald to cast a light on them. Ask the questions that need to be asked, tell the stories that need to be told, and most importantly give a voice to common thoughts that go unspoken. Use The Herald to both lend credibility to and amplify your voice, it exists to be the voice of the students (even if its just you.)
If you want to learn more about The Herald and how we can help you amplify your voice come to our next meeting Monday at 7pm in the Creedon Room. If you do not want to come to the meeting write an opinion piece or letter to the editor and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For us to continue being “by and for the students of Hobart and William Smith Colleges” The Herald needs you. It needs you to speak your mind and make your voice heard.
Please speak your mind, please make your voice heard, and if you have any questions or hesitations, please do not hesitate to reach out to me (Daniel.email@example.com)