A few weeks ago my friend and fellow editor, Joey Kaufman, struck Tumblr gold.
There’s a post on the editorial-oriented blog Family Business (fambusiness.tumblr.com) titled “The Aughts Internet Is Over.” Joey found it and shared it on Facebook. I read it, hit the like button and unliked it — just so I could like it again.
I liked it — loved it — because the author rants about the difference between writers and at-home observers.
“Most internet writers were empowered by the internet’s growth last decade, when websites emerged as the preeminent vehicles for entertainment, news and commentary,” the author writes. “Personal blogs, in particular, anointed a new class of informed, passionate people who could suddenly fashion themselves as writers and pundits. With nothing more than a hyperlink, an embedded YouTube video, or a photograph lifted from somewhere else, anyone could publish opinions, serve as a filter and attempt to lead a conversation.”
Sound familiar? As readers in the digital age, we’re constantly being bombarded by news sites that aggregate and pimp, aggregate and pimp. (Let’s be clear: We’re talking about pimping brands — and image.)
The DT does that, too, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Well, except for the fact that pimping and aggregating gets boring and redundant really quickly.
As the Family Business writer notes, there is a way to stick out. For writers, the author says reporting is a good start. I couldn’t agree more.
The DT has been around for 100 years and reporting has been the constant that has kept us relevant as an on-campus news service.
We have a total staff of more than 200 writers. When we go out to report a story, we’re not repackaging the news; we’re bringing you back something real — something with a unique, personal edge.
Two lines, in particular, sum up what I want to push this semester:
“Give me fewer content aggregators masquerading as ‘writers’; fewer people who spend most of their lives in front of the television, computer, or smart phone and write like they only know other people doing the same. Instead, find talent — be it a good blogger or an actual investigative journalist (‘investigative’ meaning everything from Watergate to a person who knows what just happened at the community garden) — and tell that person to go cover something.”
USC is our community garden, and there’s going to be lots growing here, from the reverberation of the presidential election to critical issues on the state political level to the successes and missed opportunities of the USC community.
I want DT staffers to be the good bloggers and investigative reporters you wake up wanting to read.
And I know we can do that. We have writers on staff that are hungry for campus news, we have hard-hitting editorials coming your way, we have a Lifestyle section that is gunning to keep you in the know (both on and off campus) and we have a sports team fighting to cover the exploits of the Trojans and the Women of Troy.
As editor in chief, my goal is to facilitate real discussion on campus — not to endorse the Internet-age bad habit of sharing and retweeting recycled content and storylines. We’re covering the community garden — and if we can successfully catalyze a conversation on campus, then we’re doing our job.
Though the DT might not always have the sexiest of storylines, we’re still going to be focusing on what matters and relates to you, the students.
I want the DT to be the sounding board for USC. I want us to be relevant to you. I want our papers to crowd your desk at home or in your dorm room.
I want — and maybe this is pushing it — our website to be bookmarked on your Internet browsers.
But for that to happen, we’ll need to hear from you and we’ll need you to hold us accountable.
Tell us what you want covered. Tell us what you want more of. And — perhaps most importantly — tell us what we’re doing wrong and why.
Editor in Chief Sean Fitz-Gerald is a senior majoring in English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.