My general visions for the Wildcat can pretty much be summed up in a simple sentence: to provide a public service as the newspaper of record for the University of Arizona. This works well enough when I'm speaking to the general public, though inside newsroom walls it's much deeper than that.
For instance, I get to boast publicly of the roughly 100 student workers who make this independent publication possible. I can sit back and tell newspaper editors from other universities that our student advertising representatives generate enough revenue to make salaries available for all newsroom positions. In talking with those same editors, I can throw in another little jab that the Wildcat is able to attract a full staff of students even though we function outside of the journalism department and do not receive course credit for our efforts.
However, the flip side of all this brings me back full circle to my staff of students. I have to help them Ÿ and myself Ÿ juggle work schedules with a full-time load of university courses and still find time for everyday social activities of an average college student so as not to burn out. This is no easy feat. In addition, I have to instill in them that even though we're closely connected to the university, we're also separate and independent (see boasts, above) and we need to take our jobs both seriously and professionally. And while the Wildcat sports a learning environment jam-packed with hands-on experience, the fact that we are learning does not lend us the liberty to use our student status as a scapegoat for our professional shortcomings.
As a student newspaper, my preferences for content center around students. Issues which are topical to the university are given preference to those which are local, national or international, respectively. Likewise, the guest columns, comics, news, sports, arts stories and photographs generated by students take priority over Associated Press or syndicated material. The Wildcat will strive to present a balance between the two Ÿ on Super Bowl Sunday, for example, when readers will want coverage that we're limited in providing.
Along related lines, the Wildcat will present the news as it is. Unless specifically and clearly labeled otherwise, our photographs have not been digitally altered.
Speaking of censorship .
Each year, a Wildcat advertiser stirs up controversy among readers. True, I have the final authority as editor in chief to accept or reject questionable ads, but censorship is not written into my job description Ÿ regardless of my own personal feelings. The Wildcat's advertising acceptability policy guidelines are available for review, but the bottom line is that I worry about ads that are libelous or obscene.
So, having said all that, here are some things to look for as we launch our 89th volume:
˜ Readers can expect the Perspectives page daily, as always, right here. As the opinions board views itself separate but equal to the other sections of the paper, readers won't find our bylines outside of Page 2.
˜ As was the case in previous years, the Wildcat will continue to run a calendar of student- and university-sponsored events taking place on campus. Old readers will notice that we've swiped the minuscule six-point type of On Campus' past and replaced it with a larger, more reader-friendly size in Campus Calendar. Here, new readers will stumble over a plethora of student activities and clubs, many of which list ways to get involved outside the classroom in areas of specific interest Ÿ be it religious, ethnic, athletic, academic or social. As the semester progresses, the news desk will select at random different clubs or events to feature.
˜ Our comics are generated from the student population, but they exist for our readers. Like them? Hate them? Let us know.
˜ Perhaps my most exciting venture with the Wildcat is the new and improved online edition. Still in the construction stages, this electronic newspaper will bring readers stories and photos straight to their computer screen Ÿ daily. My long range goal: Readers should be able to login to the Wildcat and catch the day's paper or search our archives for previous stories. Watch for the online Wildcat's debut in late September.
For more information on how the Wildcat operates, check out our staff box at the bottom of this page. Listed are phone numbers and the names of specific editors to contact for news tips and information, including mine, as well as policies for writing letters to the editor and submitting guest columns.
Readers shouldn't have to wait for an invitation to let their newspaper know how they feel Ÿ but if you're waiting around anyway, consider yourself invited and let this serve as our official solicitation for reader feedback. Because hey Ÿ if it's important to the UA campus and of interest to our readers, we feel it's Wildcat material.
Christine Verges is a journalism graduate student and the editor in chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat.
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