College newspapers are not totally worthless. They are where young journalists go to learn. About scandal! Angry readers! Outraged parents! Repentant editors! Scared-shitless administrators! And all over some kids who are just making it up as they go! It’s great.
College newspaper scandal of the day: The Eastern Echo, the student paper of Eastern Michigan University, ran this sort of unclear KKK-themed cartoon, and now of course people are outraged, although if they’re able to pick up on what the cartoon is about they’re a
The larger point here: like most things on college campuses, none of this really matters that much. Colleges are outrage factories, and outrage will ensue over most anything with a strong viewpoint, as well as over stupid things that never should have been published. Whether it’s the guide to mutual masturbation or the four-part series on pornography or the well-conceived race-themed cartoon or the ill-conceived race-themed cartoon, people will get mad, and one side or the other will overreact, and it will be a SCANDAL.
Sometimes those who protest are being ridiculous; other times, the college paper really f**ked up. Neither is surprising, since college kids frequently do dumb things, in most of their various endeavours. Someone usually ends up apologizing, or groveling, or even resigning or being fired, and that’s that.
It’s all educational. Embrace your overtly ridiculous scandals, college journalists. Much better to make your dumbest mistakes—and face your shrillest, dumbest foes—in college, where it doesn’t much matter, than in your actual career, where it could really screw up your ability to pay the rent, and then you have to move to cheap studio apartment with an annoying roommate and you can never get any of your dates to come home with you. I propose a blanket amnesty for all idiotic college journalism moments upon graduation and entry into the real work force. As long as college newspapers keep producing cringe-inducing moments, they will always be worthwhile
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