The Fourth Estate: A mission statement

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What is Viewpoint? What does it do, why do we have it? In its simplest, most condensed form, Viewpoint exists to express student views. It is the printed respect of independent perspective.

As elected editor, I work with my sub-editor, Nick Cassella, and web editor, Kate Andrews, to produce a section of The Saint that protects and preserves the value of personal opinion.

In my three semesters as sub-editor of Viewpoint, I heard a great deal of criticism and concern regarding the process through which articles were selected to be printed, and what should constitute a successful Viewpoint article.

I would like to clarify my criteria for a Viewpoint article right off the bat, in the interest of supplying you with a deserved transparency. My qualifications for a Viewpoint piece are the following:

 

1. Articles should be approximately 4,000 characters long, including spaces, and should be sent to viewpoint@thesaint-online.com

 

2. Articles must be well written and clear

 

3. Articles should defend or confront an issue in the interest of promoting debate and discussion

 

If you think an article published in my section does not adequately meet any one, or all three, of my stated criteria, I will without hesitation buy you a pint and listen attentively as you explain to me your view.

As editor of the Viewpoint section, that is my job above all else: to listen to you. That is why I ran for this position, and the singular purpose for which I was elected. Likewise, if you believe that Viewpoint articles deserve stricter criteria, I am open to your concern, and welcome the opportunity to hear you express it.

Should you find a specific article particularly upsetting, or unworthy of Viewpoint, you can write a response in the form of an article. I will be enthusiastic to publish your reply. Viewpoint belongs to everyone. Well, anyone who chooses to participate, anyway.

As for my personal policy regarding the acceptance or rejection of articles, it is this: every student at this university is automatically a writer for the Viewpoint section. It’s just that most of you have chosen not to send me your views in the form of an article. If you do, and if it meets my criteria, I will publish you.

Take, for example, Ben Adams (“Divided We Stand, United We Fall”, pg. 9). Last year, Adams found one of my riskier pieces, “A Message From Our Sponsors”, to be exceptionally repulsive. He wrote a reply worthy of publication, and it was printed in the next issue’s Letter to the Editor section. I am proud to offer this balance of discourse. It is an ideal that any opinion section of a newspaper should strive for.

I want to emphasize that The Saint is your paper, and that Viewpoint is your voice to use as you please. I do not have a personal, selfish agenda as editor o this section (see Bernie Feng’s article “In-genuine Power”, pg 11.). I am employed only to empower you.

For this issue, I’ve tried to collect a group of varied and unique voices that adequately represent what I believe Viewpoint should resemble. Think of it as a template, or as a sample of what’s in store for the rest of this year. I hope you enjoy it. And if not, I hope you tell me why you don’t. I’m all ears this year.

So please write for us. I can’t wait to hear all of you. I do not doubt that we will become a beautiful and deafening cacophony of diversity.

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