Letter from the Editor: Dear Samford, please trust us

Asia Burns, Editor-in-Chief

Let me begin by saying I wrote this letter in a coffee shop on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Anyone who knows me well knows that there are three things about that that are far out of my usual routine.

One: I don’t typically write well in coffee shops. They’re loud and there is far too much movement. I get too easily distracted by the people around me and what their stories might be to focus on writing a story of my own.

Two: I don’t usually go out in public while it’s raining if I can avoid it; wet hair and soggy clothes in a group setting can rub anyone the wrong way.

Three: I don’t usually write my personal opinions with the intention of publishing them in a place easily accessible to a large audience. This is consistently a major point of internal conflict for me; as a journalist, I have a responsibility to report the facts and strive for “objectivity.” As a human, I am far from infallible and can never obtain true objectivity. My solution for a long time has been to avoid writing open letters or op-eds or anything that isn’t based almost exclusively on facts.

But this one is long overdue.

On a large scale, there is a societal perception of what is popularly called “the media.” We’ve all heard the term “fake news” tossed around–which I have strong feelings about, but will save for a different letter.

On a local scale, The Samford Crimson is becoming one of those mistrusted news outlets lumped into “the media.” Some readers are displeased with our coverage of issues and feel that we are needlessly causing a stir. Some readers are displeased with our lack of coverage and believe we don’t care.

While I won’t invalidate the opinions of our readers, I will not pretend that I agree with them or that I am even remotely OK with them.

The profession of journalism as a whole exists for the good of the people. Journalists aim to hold the powerful accountable, inform the public and tell important stories that might not be heard otherwise.

In the same way, the Crimson exists for the good of Samford. We want what’s best for the university just like you want what’s best for the university, though our methods of achieving it might not align with yours.

Yes, we are a mouthpiece of Samford. But, we are not a mouthpiece for the administration. We are the mouthpiece for students and faculty whose voices otherwise would get swept under a current of much louder, stronger voices. We want to be the bridge that connects the most powerful figures of the university to the people that are directly affected by their decisions.

Yes, we have an agenda. It is to promote transparency on campus. It is to create a better-informed public. It is not something we try to hide.  

No, we aren’t avoiding covering issues because we don’t care about them. This newspaper does not exist in a vacuum. Our journalism has consequences, and we are aware of those consequences. Occasionally, we are caught flat-footed on stories. Occasionally, we hit a wall where we just cannot cover a story, no matter how much we may want to. But never do we decide to intentionally ignore a story because it doesn’t “fit our agenda” or because we don’t care about it.

Contrary to popular belief, we are not the mean, serious editors you see on TV demanding pictures of Spider-Man. We’re much more like Peter Parker, minus the superpowers. Behind those headlines are very real people who do the best they can to get stories that matter in front of you. All we ask is that you trust in us, believe in us and forgive us when we can’t do it perfectly.

There will be times when you don’t like what we write about. You may be put off by it. You might even get angry about it.

Please, read it anyway, and know the writer who penned it did so to help make this a better community.

 

2 comments

  1. Garrett says:

    Why are none of my comments being posted though?

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