Iâ€™ve been called a racist, a bigot and asked why I hate the gays and support date rape.
People have told me I ruined their livelihood, their life, and more said I came close. Others have said my paperâ€™s work would incite violence, while simultaneously demoralizing thousands.
And before, in the midst of and after each accusation, I very seriously inspect my work and that of my colleagues, my fellow journalists.
I ask myself, first, what is it weâ€™re trying to do here at the student-run Collegian, and that answer remains constant. As student (not professional) journalists learning our craft, weâ€™re out to tell the best stories possible about the microcosmic community to which we belong.
For the most part, weâ€™re lucky to highlight consistently the good â€“â€“Â the personal achievement, research advancements and social service that characterizes CSU.
Those are the stories I personally remember: Nobel Prize winner Eric Cornellâ€™s study of Bose-Einstein condensation, VoteCSU!â€™s registration of hundreds to vote in the 2008 election and agricultural economics professor Norman Dalstedâ€™s heroic tale of fighting in the fiercest Vietnam War battle zones in South Vietnam.
Other times, though, we pull on our watchdog hats and dig into the suspicious, the corrupt and the downright wrongs.
Contrary to popular belief, we donâ€™t sit in our basement newsroom with backs hunched, Mr. Burnsâ€™ fingers strumming, scheming about all the terrible stories we can run. Rather, we stress over the manner in which we cover these stories: Are we being fair to all those involved? Is the information accurate? What are the implications of running such a piece?
Analytically minded, I like to first read through any controversial content considered for publication and weigh the pros and cons. Who will this upset and why? How would I perceive this if I were on the other side? Is this considered obscene or libelous? Will this story benefit society?
After answering these and many more conundrums (they are not simply questions), I present the information to others â€“â€“Â advisers, mentors, fellow editors (there are more than 10) and anyone else whoâ€™s willing to listen.
One thing thatâ€™s always surprised me about this job is generally the lack of response â€“â€“ positive or negative â€“â€“ I get from the community for which we write. I can go days without hearing anything about content I anticipate reaction to. But let me tell you, when it rains, it pours.
With this, I encourage you, dear readers, to send me feedback. I want to know when weâ€™ve gone too far or when weâ€™ve only nudged the envelope. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have an iPhone. I check that more often than I pay attention in class (donâ€™t tell my professors).
The other thing is story ideas. Iâ€™m constantly surprised by the lack of pitches from the CSU and greater communities. We want to know what you do for fun. We want to hear about the eccentric folks youâ€™ve seen in Old Town, and we want to know what you think is unfair or unjust.
And know there are three simple ways to get us this information:
- Call the newsroom at 970-491-7513. Weâ€™ve got people in here from 9 a.m. to sometimes 2 or 3 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays.
- E-mail us at email@example.com, or
- Write to us on Facebook (search the Rocky Mountain Collegian) or Twitter (weâ€™re at RMCollegian).
Everything we do (with the exception of a few poorly executed, inside-joke-centric poll questions) is for you, CSU. Everyone at the paper has devoted their college life to writing, designing, photographing and more for you. We want to hear what weâ€™re doing well and what can be improved.
Talk to us. Weâ€™re here.