Today I have some questions for you:
- What do you think of the campus newspaper at your university or college?
- Do you read it?
- Do you think it is a useful source of news about your campus and community?
I decided to ask these as general questions rather than doing a poll because if I did a poll, I would have to have lots of sub-polls for professors of various ages, postdocs, grads, undergrads, administrators, other staff etc. in order to understand the results.
I am an occasional glancer at my university's newspaper. I haven't found it to be a particularly good or accurate source of news, as far as I can tell when I happen to know something about a particular topic of an article, although some days there is useful information in it. For example, one of my colleagues learned by reading the campus newspaper that his lab was going to be severely affected by building renovations; no administrators had thought to inform him of this.
Mostly, though, I find that I can't really understand the topic of many articles because major questions are unanswered or data/statistics are presented in an uninterpretable way.
Even so, I am glad there is a campus newspaper, and I admire the efforts of the students who put these newspapers together. That probably sounds patronizing, but it isn't mean to be. I recognize the value of having a campus newspaper, even if it isn't awesome, and I think it's better to have a mediocre paper (in the opinion of a professor) than no campus newspaper at all.
I know that working on the campus newspaper can be an all-consuming job, and perhaps creating a truly excellent newspaper requires more time than student-journalists should spend. My involvement with a campus newspaper as a student was very minor, but I know students who have devoted vast amounts of time to their campus newspaper, sometimes to the detriment of their academic program.
I have been at institutions with impressive campus newspapers, but that was when I was younger. It is entirely possible that my criticisms of student newspapers have increased as I have become significantly older than the students who write the news articles. Perhaps I would have found my current campus newspaper more interesting and entertaining when I was younger.
Therefore, if you leave a comment to say that you like/dislike your campus newspaper, I hope you will also note your current academic position and age, so I can try to detect trends and make a splashy (but potentially obvious) conclusion about them and then write about it in a post with a pie diagram and a random photo of students juggling in front of some scenic academic building.