I am both excited and terrified of taking over The Bengal. I have worked on this paper in various positions for two full years already and have seen two great editors before me drastically change what this paper was into what it has become today.
My two largest goals for my time as editor next year are: 1) Not to drive the paper into the ground. 2) Continue the growth that The Bengal has had under its past two editors-in-chief.
Obviously, no one wants to be the person who is in control when anything fails; but I am honestly more worried about the second of those two goals.
I wasn’t on staff before The Bengal started to change and I honestly never read the paper when I was a freshman here. I have been told that the paper was lacking in producing real, hard-hitting news.
Because I never knew what The Bengal was before those changes took place, I wouldn’t have known if those different goals and behaviors were being effective.
I do know however, that some of my peers, certain faculty members and others have told me that they are really glad to see what The Bengal has transformed into; and that’s good enough for me to think that it’s working.
That’s why I am nervous about my time behind the desk. It’s hard to raise a bar that has been set twice in two years. I do have a passion for this paper though.
I am not studying journalism, but I am a journalist by training. I am also deeply passionate about politics, with no question that it’s to a fault.
The combination of these two things have made me very aware of how the media has changed in our modern political discourse, and I frankly am not a fan of how it is viewed these days.
Distrust and skepticism run deep in the public. Everyone has their own news source because, “They’re giving me the REAL news.”
The sign that any politician, in the face of unflattering or even destructive news, can simply brush it off as bad reporting, as the [insert political ideology] media or the ever popular ‘fake news’ is deeply concerning to me.
I believe that this is due to the deeper and more general culture of distrust and fear of each other and the world in America today.
The media is by no means the blameless victim in this circumstance either; there have been plenty of scandals involving the major press to put doubt in anyone’s mind. I also believe that it’s fair to doubt news that is immediately preceded or followed by “The World’s Most Expensive Divorce Settlements.” I’m sorry Yahoo News, but that doesn’t belong in the middle of a young girl falling out of a bus and the lawsuits over student’s freedom of speech at UC Berkeley.
Both sides of the equation have issues that could be worked on, but the consumers have all of the power in this type of relationship, so it is on the news media to step up their game in order to win over the people again.
The simplest way to do that is to get back to the real reporting and away from the cats, listicles and ‘what celebrity, muppet, breakfast food, car or garden tool’ are you type articles. At the very least keep it out of the news section and front page. I highly doubt this will happen anytime soon though, because that is the content that sells, and we are no longer in the world that saw the news as a public service that was sponsored by a philanthropist. Just like education, news is a business to the people who control it. That makes the end goal money, which means views, which means cats.
That’s why my main goal for my time as the editor-in-chief of The Bengal is to ‘Make the Media Great Again.’
Student media is in a special and privileged position. It is funded by the university and allowed to do with that money as it sees fit and necessary. That does not change the paper’s responsibility to produce a good product and source its own income to reimburse the university, but this model gives it a freedom.
Student media has the opportunity to teach those who practice it how to get the job done well, and with as little bias as possible; which is an invaluable resource to both the people who do the reading and writing.
It is my goal to maintain the learning and growing that students can learn from this type of media position, and do my best to not bring around its end.