The Collegian, despite what you may hear, is not a “liberal” paper.
If you don’t believe me, just look at the opinion page the week following the now infamous F-Bush editorial. I can recall three columns in support of Editor in Chief J. David McSwane. One neutral, but still fairly critical, and four against, calling him everything from an attention-seeking narcissist to just “a chump.”
Most recently, claims against this paper have been leveled by CSU College Republican Chairwoman Chelsey Penoyer in comments to members of the media and in a guest column that ran on Friday.
However, some of her comments need to be cleared up.
I, as editorials editor, do not specifically withhold letters to the editor on the basis of politics. It was asserted in more than one news outlet that Penoyer allegedly wrote letters that were never printed. They insinuated that I didn’t print them because they were conservative in nature. This is false.
I do withhold letters, but only under strict guidelines related to liability and special issues.
At the bottom of the Opinion page, the rules for letters are printed very clearly.
Most letters are held because they either exceed the 250 word limit, are submitted anonymously or without a complete name, because they are libelous in nature, or because they relate to nothing in the paper. Letters to the editor are a forum to respond to our coverage – not just to rant.
On rare occasions, I will print letters exceeding our word count limit if I feel they have merit, like Ms. Penoyer’s. I label these “Guest Columns.”
In her column, Penoyer stated that people have been turned away from working at the Collegian “in part, because of their known conservative status.” Not true.
The Student Media employment application has no section asking for the political affiliation of the applicant. In addition, interviews at our paper revolve around ability to write and make time commitments to cover events. Personal beliefs are not a factor.
Most hires are based on clips submitted by the applicant. In the case of reporters, who are expected to be unbiased if they are up to the Collegian standard, it would be impossible to tell how they stand on the issues.
I’ll give Ms. Penoyer the benefit of the doubt here and assume she was talking about my page – the opinion section – because it’s a little different.
When somebody submits his or her clips to become a columnist, it is generally clear where they stand politically. However, this does not factor into my hiring practices.
As it stands now, I have two “token” conservatives, as Penoyer put it, on my weekly staff. You can contrast that with three “liberals.” One of my regular columnists is writing about her experiences in Ghana, so her column is rarely political.
Of occasional staffers that regularly submit, I have one libertarian, the guy that wrote “Don’t free the Jena Six” – a liberal rant if I ever saw one – and two more self identifying conservatives – one of which the Ram Republic attempted to recruit.
The fact that the CSU Republicans tried to steal staff from the “liberal” newspaper undercuts Penoyer’s point. If the CSU Republicans can’t even find staff from their own club, maybe the failure isn’t the big bad Collegian, but rather that many conservatives just aren’t interested.
From what I’ve heard, the Ram Republic will be offering “the conservative voice” only bimonthly. Pick up the Collegian, and you’ve got your conservative voice, at a minimum, Wednesdays and Fridays.
If you think this is a problem, feel free to pick up an application at the Student Media Office; we’re always hiring.
Editorials Editor Sean Reed is a junior political science major. His column appears Mondays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.