To Whom It May Concern:
I found this year’s final issue of TKS thoughtful, full of good articles and brimming with hope for the future. I am excited to see what this new editorial board can do with this most important of campus resources; I look forward to continuing my regular reading of it as a soon-to- be alum.
However, I was disappointed on opening to the Mosaic section, and would encourage this new team of editors to consider what I have to say when deciding what this section should be in the coming year. I fear for the priorities of a paper who publishes a spread like the one of this week’s Page 8.
The issue I take is with the prominent placement of an extremely extensive music review for Issues’ album “Headspace.” This band has peaked at #96 on the Billboard charts and the album received mixed-to- positive reviews — in my mind, worthy, but not worthy of a 1,473-word review and a large image in a paper in which the only other article even approaching that length was the article on the OCR Investigation. I am saddened that my new alma mater’s paper gives as much page space to a review of a middling metalcore album as they do to discussion of a Title IX investigation.
Meanwhile, actual campus events have been given short shrift. My reviews for the Theatre Department have always been limited to 300 words, and often contain no images. The Senior Dance Showcase and Dance Ensemble Performances received a picture college and no article. There has not even been a mention of the recent English Department publications of Catch, Cellar Door and Quiver. I even submitted a one-sentence correction to five different editors last week regarding a student who was mis-gendered in a photo caption to my theatre review; that was not published, but this music review was. As an arts student, I can confirm that the lack of coverage and seeming lack of care for our major campus events in favor of articles like this does not go unnoticed, by students as well as faculty. And clearly, the issue is not a shortage of content.
This is not to say that I think TKS should not be covering national works of art as well as campus ones. However, a quick survey of the most popular music review websites — AllMusic, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, etc. — finds all major reviews shorter than this TKS review, the longest being a 1,001-word review in The New York Times. Oh, and all of these reviews are not for #96 on the Billboard charts — they are for Beyoncé’s “Lemonade.”
A newspaper is a visual thing as well as a textual thing; a lot is said simply on presentation alone. And what I see when I open to this spread is an upsetting statement on the priorities of a hugely important student resource — a mildly successful national band shoving discussion of student theatrical work off to the side. So I urge this group of editors to consider what stories they choose to tell, and how they choose to tell them — and I urge the reader to pressure this paper to continue telling those stories. Don’t let this paper become an exercise in artistic vanity, let it become a showcase for a huge variety of student voices and an important resource on the events shaping our campus and our world.
Now go forth and print all the news fit to print. I look forward to seeing this paper continue to evolve for the better. Best of luck in the new school year; I’ll be rooting for you.
Class of 2016