“The Signal is the College’s award-winning, student-run news organization.” I’ve heard this said again and again in my past year-and-a-half with this paper.
Sure, we’re run by students. Hell, we even win our fair share of awards. But in the world of fake news, “alternative facts” and a public distrust of the media, I can’t help but feel we could do better.
A sitting president called well-researched reports “fake news” as he undermined the very constitution that he and his constituents claimed to support. Meanwhile, actual fake news echoes his tired rhetoric. This isn’t about politics — I HATE politics — this is about holding people accountable for their corruption and dishonesty.
There’s a dire need for constructive discourse between journalists and the rest of the country. As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author David Cay Johnston said on journalists during his fall lecture, “Our only reason to exist is to tell you the truth — the verifiable truth, not opinions.” If Americans cannot trust the media, then there’s a fundamental problem that may never change. And that’s where journalists can help.
Rooting through decades-old Signals in the Forcina Hall office during our weekly all-nighters, I see something that’s missing in the latest editions. The tales of corruption and malpractice that had made their home on the front page are far less common. But why?
It’s not to say this paper hasn’t had great people or done fantastic work these last few years. In fact, I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of wonderful people that’ve done far better work than me. But I think somewhere along the line, the College got too comfortable.
It’d be easy to say that things have changed at the College. These kinds of scandals could be less common — or maybe they just got better at hiding them. Regardless, my goal as a writer and editor is to fight every day to make The Signal the watchdog news organization that this college deserves. It’s time to stir the pot. It’s time to call out B.S. and to hold people accountable. We want to be THE source for everything on campus — good news or bad. Still, we can’t do this alone.
You probably know Paul Loser advocated for segregation in Trenton High Schools. But did you know the College pushed to sap the Student Activities Fee in order to pay faculty? How about the fact that several of the College’s policies violate First Amendment rights? These are all stories The Signal reported on this past year. While important stories like Eve Cruz’s firing did gain traction, many others went unnoticed.
We can all do better as a campus community. Be informed. Be involved. Be vocal. Ask questions. If you have a news tip or want to write an opinion: reach out. Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We could use all the help we can get.
In today’s political climate, apathy and a lack of mobilization cannot persist. Through proper reporting, we must fight for free speech and the spread of knowledge. Together, we can make the College a better place for all students — and maybe win a few more awards along the way.
– Connor Smith