Letter from the editor: Here's what we do. Here's how you can, too.
This semester at The Spectrum has been an absolute dream.
We’ve introduced new ways for students to engage with us on social media and made it easier for the community to get involved.
We’ve told our classmates’ personal and touching stories in ways they haven’t been told before with Humans of UB.
We’ve run an entire sports section without a dedicated editor until just recently and have published work by all 10 of our new, talented sports writers regardless.
It’s been a monumental semester for us here and one that I’m proud to have been a part of. But I can’t help but feel that what we do, or how we function as an organization, is often misunderstood. And I want to clarify.
On Thursday, before New York Times White House Correspondent Maggie Haberman visited UB as part of the Distinguished Speakers Series, UB held a pre-speech informal session for Haberman to talk to members of the community, including some Spectrum staff.
Toward the end of her Q&A, I asked Haberman how often she has to explain her job to readers.
I wasn’t shocked by her answer at all. Haberman said she has to explain what she does, and how she does it, nearly every day.
And the best way to explain what you do, according to her, is with your platform.
So treat this op-ed as a blueprint for how we function. And more importantly, treat it as a blueprint for how you can help us function.
At The Spectrum, we have many missions, two of which take precedence.
Firstly, we’re here to tell stories and share information with our readers.
Our front-page stories reflect the biggest news of the week. Our opinion page –– where this letter lands –– reflects the views of your classmates, whether we as a publication personally agree with them or not. Our arts page reflects what’s hot in the national, local and on-campus art scenes in the form of album reviews, artist interviews and coverage of UB events. Our features page reflects student life and student interests: profiles of students, stories on student clubs and deep looks into communities on campus. And our sports page reflects the stories of student athletes, coverage of their games and usually the best photos of the week from our lovely multimedia crew.
Our first mission as an organization is to keep you informed as a community member, but to me, the second is more important: We’re here to train new writers and creatives, as an outlet for students who are lost or searching for a place to share their work and don’t know how to start.
Our staff has grown exponentially since the start of the semester and I’m incredibly proud of that.
But there’s always room for more writers and reporters.
They don’t have to ask questions at every press conference. They don’t have to understand the intricacies of campus life right away. And they certainly don’t have to write the most elaborate stories off the bat. They just have to care and work hard enough to grow.
There’s always room for more photographers and videographers, too.
They don’t have to own a camera. They don’t have to have any experience shooting games, concerts or news stories. They just have to care and work hard enough to grow.
There’s also always room for graphic designers, cartoonists and other creatives. As long as they’re driven, there’s a spot for them, too.
There’s always going to be room for you at The Spectrum. If you’ve ever wanted to get first-hand experience writing or shooting photos and videos, enroll in our spring session of ENG 394. And if you want to try some editing, graphic design, cartoon work or anything else you feel could help us as an organization, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wrote it in my first letter, and I’ll write it in each one that follows: This is your campus publication.
And we want you to help us grow.
Brenton J. Blanchet is the editor-in-chief and can be reached at Brenton.Blanchet@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @BrentonBlanchet.