Breaking the silence, breaking the mold

At issue: Marginalized voices are speaking out

Our take: The Beacon should amplify these voices

No American woman has been selected as Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 80 years. Yet the publication recently selected a group of individuals largely comprised of women they dubbed “The Silence Breakers” of sexual assault the Time 2017 Person of the Year. This nomination reflects a larger societal movement towards accountability for institutionalized abuse, complacency, and workplace inequality. And this change doesn’t stop at Emerson. This semester the Beacon covered issues like problems with the Title IX office and gender imbalance in ECPD.

Time’s naming “The Silence Breakers” its 2017 POTY is more than just another superficial media label. The publication’s decision to dedicate its most well-known cover to women who bravely ended a silence regarding sexual assault and harassment, validates the #MeToo movement. Rather than focus on the assaulters, Time decided to promote the voices of those who have been swept under the rug for years.

Similarly, we’ve used our newspaper over the course of the semester to bring attention to voices we also feel deserve a platform. From student safety concerns, to cultural competency to #ThisIsEmerson, our editorial page has been used to highlight a number of issues that need a spotlight and impact those in and around the Emerson community—issues that matter.

Next semester, the Beacon will reorganize newsroom staff to provide a better platform for the stories that need to be told and the voices that need to be heard. Our news section will have two dedicated teams, one focusing on in-depth articles and the other dealing with day-to-day campus news. The revamp will allow our reporters to more effectively report investigative stories on topics like sexual assault and administrative foibles.

We will also shift away from our weekly publishing schedule to a daily online news cycle, focusing on timeliness. While we do sometimes post same-day articles online, like with the release of the Anthony Lowrie memo in October, we are frequently stuck in our Thursday-centric timeline. Our longtime weekly approach is an artifact of our print edition, but it should be no surprise that most of our readership comes from the web. Switching to a daily, web-focused publication will give us more flexibility in circulating important campus news as it happens.

Our goal is for the Beacon to become a valuable resource not just for students, but also for staff and faculty as well. We want our readership to see the paper as a safe space for them to come forward with their stories and concerns and their tips and news that they want to see covered. Our hope is to illuminate the lesser-known stories you bring to us, such as the issue of underpaid Emerson staff members we covered earlier this semester. We want the paper to be an engaging source that works with and for our readership, not just a detached news outlet that operates independent of the community.

With the events of the past year, and even the past semester, it is time for the Beacon to redouble its efforts to serve Emerson. Though we cannot always anticipate the news, we can make ourselves as open and accessible as possible to all members of the community. Our internal structural changes, though seemingly irrelevant, will allow us to be more active in campus news. It is our duty not only to report campus news, but also to contextualize this news for our readership. Looking to the future, we hope to provide a platform for students and staff who have been marginalized and overlooked. Every person on campus should feel validated, and we will do everything we can to promote that.

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