The Lafayette is more than a “club” or “activity”. It’s the longest running collegiate newspaper in Pennsylvania and for the past 145 years it’s chronicled the goings on of campus life, held those in power accountable and served as a training ground for young journalists. If it ceases to publish after this semester, the campus community will be less for its loss.
An adjunct instructor of journalism with no ties to The Lafayette, I am not writing to defend or support oversight of the newspaper’s finances. The time for finger pointing has passed. The time to figure out how to sustain the continuation of a student newspaper at a small liberal arts college has come. But let’s not do it for the group of students who devote between 10 to 20 hours a week without pay or credit producing the stories, columns and photographs that inform and make sense of this shared experience. They’ll be OK. There are lots of other clubs they could join. We need to do this because we value what a newspaper – at its best – represents: freedom, democracy, a place to exchange opinions and information. The late James Carey, a highly regarded journalism professor at Columbia University, once described journalism as “the conversation of our culture.”
It’s a good starting point, now let’s start talking.
Instructor of Journalism
Director of Content Strategy