Letter From the Editor

Dear Readers of the Herald,

In 1879, the Herald was established by the students of Hobart & William Smith Colleges for the students of Hobart & William Smith Colleges as well as the greater community. As we began our transition in the fall semester to a refocused Herald, there were discussions over what constituted student journalism and what was important for the Herald, as the student newspaper, to cover. Beyond the con nes of our campus there have been many opinions about the integrity of journalism and its reception within the community. This has in uenced how journalists work and the pieces they report on; this should not be the case.

In November, the Editorial Board of The Middlebury Campus published a piece responding to criticism of their coverage of the campus by the administration. They noted that the role of the campus newspaper is not to publicize a positive perception of the school – that is the role of Communications, Marketing, and Admissions. The campus newspaper is the platform for the student experience. That is, undoubtedly, the goal of every student newspaper and yet our seems to have been lagging in recent years.

This is not a space to place blame, but rather to acknowledge a changing climate where the stories we report now have the chance to make a di erence in the way we live and study at Hobart & William Smith. With the newly inaugurated President Vincent planning to embark upon a capital campaign rumored to be around half a billion dollars, the Herald, and the student body as a whole, is in a unique position to advocate for change on the campus –and to have their voices heard.

Reading through the Campus piece, and following the wide-range of articles published on the current United States government, has instilled within the team at the Herald a need to provoke and unveil truth on campus. We cannot be scared of retribution or the idea of being shut down; we are a free-press institution removed from the arm of the campus administration, a separate entity that works solely for the student body. There are not ties that bind us to the institution we report on, save from the fact that we are students here, and our work with the newspaper cannot be classi ed as being for or against the insitution or the people it represents but rather for the needs of the students. If we cannot allow for students and faculty to engage in discussion this semester over the stories we publish, then the Herald will have succeeded in its goals.

To that end, we must do better to reveal the truth of HWS and contribute to a better form of journalism. Yes, there are campus-wide human interest stories that are important to cover – such as the President’s Inauguration – that will not provide anything new for the student body or be groundbreaking pieces of journalism, yet it is our job to not continuously produce such material but instead to challenge both our sta and our readers in their perception of the HWS community so that the Herald becomes a reliable publication noted on campus for tackling subjects that may otherwise lay dormant.

There are stories we can cover and problems that we can bring to the forefront of campus discussion without glorifying them or becoming a publication that runs on gossip and sleazy headlines. We instead will be the place to have discussions about what makes Hobart & William Smith tick and what can be done to make it better. That is the key: to become a discussion based publication wherein we both initiate and encourage the discussion of topics that give students a voice in proceedings – be them in Department meetings, with the Board of Trustees, or anywhere else on campus.

We are members of the campus community and we have a say, it is important that we let our voices be heard for reasons both good and bad as we are all on this campus hoping to have a good experience and any improvements should be vocalized. We are a publication that goes all over Geneva and is supposed to speak for the campus. If anything, these past few months have showed me how important a free press is and the potential it has to make a di erence.

Consider this our new mission statement. As we move forward, and I begin my tenure as Editor-in-Chief of this great institution, we strive to report the news and contribute to discussions that will lead to a more positive campus culture for all students. The Herald has the potential to be the publication that enables the student voice. For the next issues that we publish this semester and beyond we will strive to meet that goal, and we hope that you, the students and members of this campus, will join us unequivocal so that we can generate change in this institution.

I look forward to hearing from our readers about the stories we publish. Please feel free to contact us at herald@hws.edu with questions or comments – or if you would like to help contribute and write for the Herald this semester.

Our next issue will be published March 2. Now, the great work begins.

Alex Kerai

Editor-in-Chief of the Herald


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