At issue: What’s the deal with the Beacon?
Our take: We’ve got plenty to work on
This semester, the Beacon has published article after article after article about the lack of engagement with the Student Government Association. Nearly every position went unopposed in this year’s election, and much of the student body doesn’t even know about SGA. We even penned an editorial last week about the SGA’s communication problems—we noted that while SGA wants more involvement from the student body at large, their efforts haven’t been wholly successful. SGA just doesn’t get a whole lot of recognition or respect.
Let’s just say that we can relate. Most students don’t read the Beacon. Some don’t even know we exist. For many of those who are familiar with us, our reputation is questionable at best. We know we need to do better, and we can do a lot better.
In the weeks after the presidential election, the media was harshly criticized for its coverage of the presidential campaign. Everyone was wondering how the media got the results so wrong. And then once Trump was elected, there was a shift as people realized how necessary the press was to fact-check what the president says. In response, there has been a surge of support for news outlets and organizations, such as ProPublica. The New York Times and Washington Post have the highest subscriber numbers ever and are expanding their staffs. Journalism requires support from its audience to survive, and the Beacon is no different. And, of course, we will work to earn that support.
Although we definitely try our best to represent all perspectives in our publication, we realize that diversity on the Beacon staff is still an issue that we can work on. It’s been proven time and time again that the best journalism gives fair coverage to the concerns facing communities of all backgrounds. So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the first step toward achieving this goal begins in the newsroom. Of course, we have always strived to include all points of view in the Beacon. We’re always looking for ways to appeal to all students at Emerson, especially those who are unfortunately too often underrepresented. And we’re not just talking about societal minorities—we want to hear from those with underrepresented political views and in underrepresented majors. We also know that we cannot truly do this, however, unless we expand our staff to include more people of different backgrounds.
As editor-in-chief Laura King wrote in her March letter, this all comes down to trust. We can’t be a relevant news source unless people think we are relevant—unless people are willing to lend us their voices and tell us their stories. We can’t promise we won’t report entirely without error—we’re students, and we’re learning. But as our staff transitions, we hope to uphold an openness to critique and transparency. And we will continue to try and provide this campus with the information it needs.