Newspaper nullification April 29, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in education, writing.
Tags: caltech, college, journalism, newspaper
Back in the dark ages, i.e., my first year of college, I was elected with four other people to be an editor of the school paper. It was an interesting experience and solidified my interest in writing. (I even spent some time as a journalism major!)
At the end of the year, I was responsible for putting together a flyer to send out to the incoming freshman. It was supposed to let them know about the newspaper and inform them how to become involved, if they were interested. I put together a traditional letter, very similar to the packet of letters that I received before arriving at the school. However, I decided that was sufficiently boring, so I also put together a collage, pasting various clippings, pictures and other things that had actually been printed in the paper during the previous school year. I photocopied it onto the back of the letter and was set to go.
Admittedly, I was a freshman in college and didn’t have the best taste. Also, we had no journalistic standards. Regardless, my choices were apparently not appreciated and the collage was pulled. There were comments about scaring the parents of potential incoming students. It made no sense to me as these were things we’d actually published at one point or another. If they were freaked out by the stuff in the paper, then obviously they hadn’t been at pre-frosh weekend.
So much for journalistic freedom of speech. (I know…apples and oranges.)
That happened almost exactly 20 years ago. Thanks to the internet, I can put this out in public so all those poor freshman from the class of ’98 can see what they were missing out on.
So why do I bring it up now? Because I found it the other day and took a good hard look at it. Aside from it being a fairly interesting trip down memory lane (and a bit of a time capsule to boot), I pondered what I would do if my son, who will be entering college next fall, received something like this.
I have to admit that I’m baffled. It was certainly goofy, but I still don’t understand what the big deal was. And if my son received something like this, I might actually be a little amused. I still think it’s more interesting that that stupid, boring letter.
Or maybe I’m just a warped parent.
(ETA: I suppose there is one circumstance where I might be concerned. If my son were going to be a journalism major, I’d probably be recommending other schools.)