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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Letter from the Editor: Growing the voice of the student body

This is The Spectrum and this is your campus newspaper.

But “your” might feel like an empty promise to some.

We occasionally report on stories that aren’t always a positive reflection of this campus and our opinion page is always flooded with outspoken columns. We try to give a voice to as many students as we can. 

This is the way it should be, though. We’re doing our jobs when we inform the community and we’re doing our jobs when we keep you involved.

But we’re not doing our jobs right when editorial choices make students of color feel invalidated or underrepresented, or when working relationships with departments or clubs crumble without us trying to rebuild them, limiting the quality of stories we can offer you.

Both of these scenarios have happened throughout our paper’s 69-year history. I’ve seen the effects of them. But they shouldn’t persist.

This year’s reporting staff is a new –– much, much larger –– staff and The Spectrum is rebuilding. While we have only a handful of experienced editors this year, we have a staff full of new writers ready to make this publication their outlet for expression, and yours as well.

I’m Brenton J. Blanchet, The Spectrum’s 66th Editor-in-Chief and I want our paper to tell your stories. Before taking my word on that, I want you to know my background. 

Today I write this as a music journalist, not a news writer. 

I walk into supermarkets and see the faces of popstars I’ve interviewed on the cover of Rolling Stone, I check my phone and see my name on music sites like Billboard and DJBooth and I can’t attend a concert without critiquing the artist’s stage presence. That’s what I want to do for the rest of my life, with the exception of not enjoying concerts, but I understand the importance of my position here.

While I’ve been part of the paper since 2016 and have broken news countless times, both for The Spectrum and other publications, news isn’t my only priority. My approach is different.

I’m a creative at heart. There’s nothing I value more than listening to my sources and I will carry this mentality into the relationships we rebuild at this paper.

We want to highlight students. We want to tell your stories –– whether you’re a student-athlete, a rapper, a member of the student government or a genuinely really cool person –– and we want to do everything we can to give a voice to underrepresented communities on this campus. 

Our first move this year was tailoring a role for the student body, a new outreach position at The Spectrum: An Engagement Editor.

For the next two semesters, my brother Benjamin Blanchet will run our social media accounts, help me work with student clubs and departments and assist in mending relationships. We want to find out what you feel The Spectrum can do for you.

We’ve already had some in-depth discussions with student organizations and Ben has already listened to the concerns of several departments on campus. While we aren’t always going to make everyone happy with our coverage, we want to recognize our paper’s past mistakes and do the best we can to cover as many angles of UB as we possibly can.

But our jobs are useless without your voice.

We want your feedback. 

The Spectrum has taught me how to tell other people’s stories which is something I’m going to do for the rest of my life. And I want us to help share yours.

The Spectrum is your publication. It might be turning 70 years old pretty soon and carrying a lot of history with it, but that doesn’t mean we have to carry the burden of its history without learning from it.

Today is a new beginning and I want you here for it.

If you have any questions about what we do or are thinking about joining, send me an email, tweet me @BrentonBlanchet or drop by my office at 132 Student Union.

Brenton can be reached at and on Twitter @BrentonBlanchet. 


Brenton J. Blanchet is the 2019-20 editor-in-chief of The Spectrum. His work has appeared in Billboard, Clash Magazine, DJBooth, PopCrush, The Face and more. Ask him about Mariah Carey.



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