“As a trembling freshman just two weeks into my college career, I opened the doors to the Buchtelite office. Maybe I can do a little writing for gas money, I thought. The upperclassmen, the journalistic jargon and the expensive electronics intimidated me. As editor of a staff of about 30 students, I never thought it could turn into this.””
As a trembling freshman just two weeks into my college career, I opened the doors to the Buchtelite office. Maybe I can do a little writing for gas money, I thought.
The upperclassmen, the journalistic jargon and the expensive electronics intimidated me.
As editor of a staff of about 30 students, I never thought it could turn into this. Along with me came a wave of talented writers and editors who have transformed the Buchtelite from a campus embarrassment to an award-winning paper that has accrued national respect.
It’s hard to be modest in expressing this message, but University of Akron students should be happy to have the Buchtelite free on the racks on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
A lot of Ohio’s universities boast great student papers, such as Bowling Green, Kent State and Ohio University. But to have one at Akron, where there is no journalism school, is truly unique. At the other schools, professors are sitting over writers’ shoulders to correct them.
Not here. And admittedly, we mess up sometimes because of it.
Last year, we said two men had AIDS. They didn’t.
The year before that, we misspelled a front-page headline about a deceased professor who will not be fogotten. Another headline wished the Zips luck in winning a Mid-American Conference chamionship.
Worrying about these kinds of mistakes kept me up at night. Laugh all you want, but I’ve had nightmares about a giant 60-point font headline with a blatant screw up.
There are several parts of this job that have made it worth it, though. We have an audience of about 30,000 that helps us effect change at the university.
In the fall, we helped uncover a small legion of felons living in the residence halls. As a result, the university changed its policy toward students with serious criminal histories who live in the dorms.
Reeling from the publicity, UA administrators went too far to save face when they deferred inviting famed poet and author Jimmy Santiago Baca, simply because he is a felon. Unfortunately, they didn’t recognize the difference between a recovered felon and an active criminal.
The Buchtelite broke the story, then publications across the nation followed suit.
Stimulating important change is what makes true journalism important, at any level.
The Akron Beacon Journal has been a tag-team partner of sorts. Reporter John Higgins told the devastating story of Charles Plinton, who committed suicide after being railroaded by Student Judicial Affairs.
But to the university’s credit, president Luis Proenza put aside the arrogance that accompanies so many with similar positions as his. He established a commission and changed policies to deal with his institution’s faults.
It would be arrogance on our part, however, to say the Buchtelite is solely to credit for improving the campus. It is our readers whose outrage gathers momentum.
But a new era of the Buchtelite will begin Friday when I step down to welcome Adam Ferrise, the new editor in chief, to my desk. In fact, we will have new editors at every key role.
No longer will you read the adventures of Mike Hixenbaugh, who ran a marathon without training and tried to get mugged in the ghetto for your enjoyment. The eloquent writing of Dan Kadar will be a treat for the readership of the publication at which he lands. You liberals will need a new person to preach the party line, as Kristin Snowberger is heading to law school. As her conservative counterpart, I too will attend law school in the fall.
So please be patient as the Buchtelite tries to maintain its present level with mostly underclassmen. And please remember, we’d love for you to be a part of the next generation.
You can be the next trembling freshman to help lead this newspaper and campus to new heights.