The signs are obvious ─Speedway Boulevard suddenly lives up to its name, restaurants are packed and the ASUA Bookstore is filled with doting moms and dads anxiously asking their now-former nestlings, "Are you sure you don't need another desk lamp? Or maybe some more batteries? How about a little stuffed Wilbur the Wildcat, so you don't miss us too much?"
And then what affects me most of all ─ the journey into the Arizona Daily Wildcat newsroom at the beginning of the semester. I'd visited during the summer a few times, but this time when I walked through the doors, looked at our new carpet and the cluttered walls, I realized, "I'm in charge of this. It's all up to me."
Of course I'm deluding myself, it's not all up to me. It just feels like that for a few minutes. The newspaper is filled with talented, capable people who could get along just fine without me, but after all, everyone likes to feel needed.
Staff members begin to trickle in, and it is obvious that everyone is feeling the same trepidation. Desk editors worry that their reporters won't show up, reporters worry that there is some gigantic story they're missing, the photographers worry that nothing photo-worthy will happen.
But none of it matters, because the paper always manages to come together. Every year, day after day, we manage to put out a paper, and in those first few days no one is sure how it happens.
Each year has its own set of high hopes, things that we're going to change, accomplish and set straight. And some of those goals do get accomplished, and some are left over for the next year's staff to achieve.
I've been at the Wildcat for a couple of years, and I have seen improvement. But, like each new editor in chief, I have my own checklist to work from. I have every hope and expectation that this will be a groovy year, and part of making that happen is to acknowledge past problems and things that need revamping.
So one of the things we are going to reorganize this year is Police Beat. This has been a sensitive area of the paper and I'm sure it will remain so.
The topic of printing names is always controversial, especially for those mentioned in the section. That practice is not going to change, because part of journalism is being as specific as possible, for clarification's sake. The Wildcat does not publish UAPD files to embarrass arrestees─we're not out to humiliate or shame anyone.
However, I do think that if we print someone's name in Police Beat, we have a responsibility to follow up. The previous policy was to encourage people to tell the paper if charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, etc., and we'd print it.
This year we are going to keep track of all cases mentioned in Police Beat, and print the final outcomes about twice a month. Not only does this help us fulfill our responsibility, but it will also give readers a more accurate picture of campus crime.
And just as the paper comes together and actually arrives on the newsstands each year, the same problems tend to crop up.
The daily opinions page started last year, and has been a success. However, anytime there is an exhange of ideas, or someone expresses a view, there are always those who don't agree.
The "marketplace of ideas" is the whole point of an opinions page. It should be a place where debate occurs, through columns and letters to the editor. However, the opinions expressed on these pages are not always ones the Wildcat as a whole, or its staff members individually, support. Just because a newspaper prints an opinion does not mean it automatically condones that idea.
Signed columns are the views of the author. The unsigned editorials are written by a member of the Opinions Board, composed of the Opinions Editor, Copy Chief and the Editor in Chief. These unsigned articles state the official Wildcat stance on an issue, but signed columns do not.
Readers are encouraged to respond to anything they see in the Wildcat with a letter to the editor. These are printed whenever possible, and we are jumping onto the information highway this year via electronic mail. Our e-mail address is printed in the staff box and we always accept letters in the newsroom.
Our goal is to open the Wildcat up to readers as much as possible. We also encourage anyone interested in working for the newspaper to come and talk to us ─ we never know when we'll have an opening. We want to know what you think, because we're not putting out the paper for ourselves.
The clock is ticking, and summer is slipping away even as I write this column. There are a million things I need to do before work and school starts, and the clock just refuses to stop.
Time to go put out another paper, and get a little further down that checklist of goals.
Sarah Garrecht is the editor in chief of the 1994-95 Arizona Daily Wildcat. Read Next Article