Letter to the editor from Naveed Easton '12

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • April 26, 2012

To the editor:

I'm compelled to write by your recent redesign and how spectacularly it misses the mark in improving the Beacon in any meaningful way.

I lost interest in reading the Beacon long ago, but was pulled back in after the recent redesign issue by the self-aggrandizing proclamation on the top of the front page: a "cleaner, simpler, more modern look and the same dedication to compelling narratives and accurate reporting." Within five minutes I was overwhelmed by the same typos, grammatical errors, egregious comma usage, and shallow reporting that typified the "old" Beacon. Why bother with a stylistic redesign if the content continues to struggle so heavily? 

I can't say I'm surprised. Emerson, unfortunately, is built around style over substance. We've got beautiful theaters that we aren't allowed to use, endless resources we can't easily access, and a student populace that's more interested in constructing an image and making connections than producing any meaningful art. Just look at the EVVYs: a hulking behemoth of a production, a slickly produced awards show where the promotional posters are given more thought than the awards themselves. In charging a fee for content submissions, the EVVYs guarantees that the winners will always be those with better connections and exposure, not those who produce the highest quality work.

From cover to cover, articles in the Beacon range from competent and informative to inflammatory and aimless. Tim Strain’s most recent column has the depth and insight of a blog post. This week, I was disgusted to find that the editorial cartoons, already lacking any editorial value, have stooped even further to becoming “editorial memes." 

Several weeks ago, the front page feature about Em Magazine's funding amounted to little more than cross-organizational sniping. The highlighted quote was taken wildly out of context and the entire focus of the article was Em Mag’s budgeting woes. Stirring controversy seemed to be its only purpose. How do their finances compare to the Beacon? Have other publications been going over budget as well? Obvious angles for in-depth coverage were conspicuously absent.

If covering financial issues is an apparent priority, why not use your journalistic clout to challenge the school's dismal financial aid record? Instead we get weeks of reporting on cage-free eggs and President Pelton gets a million-dollar mansion. My tuition has increased every single year, yet I’m still asked to pay for my own cap and gown. Good riddance.

I don't expect this letter to get published since I haven't suckered my way up to having any flashy titles on campus. Either way, Emerson College deserves a news outlet with a clearer focus and stronger content, one that can constantly push for meaningful change on campus. Forget the style, focus on the substance. It’s a message that needs to be spread to the student body at large.

Naveed Easton

Visual and Media Arts '12