Letter from the Editor: Telling your stories for the 113th year

Journalism has become a field which those who do not claim it as a profession (or in our case, a high-commitment extracurricular) do not always understand.

Today’s journalists aren’t just writing the news anymore. They are out in the world, capturing photos and video and audio, streaming to millions of screens in real time.

And they are not just telling us the facts. They’re forced to pick and choose what is real and what is right, meticulously digging through a seemingly endless pot of rumors, hearsay and alternative facts to present people with what is hopefully the most accurate compilation of information.

This is a world that seems all too confusing, ambiguous and precarious for the few of us who want to write the news and the many of us who want to read and understand it.

One thing I will never forget, and the thing that has given me the will to return to the Hullabaloo office every day, is what a retired Los Angeles Times reporter told me at the Associated College Press conference in 2015: At the end of the day, journalism is just about telling stories.

So we at The Hullabaloo have been telling your stories since 1905. And in embarking on this ambitious journey of telling Tulane’s many stories, we have more recently become well-versed in this campus’s most pressing challenges.

Regrettably, our acknowledgement of these issues comes long after so many marginalized and underrepresented individuals and groups on this campus have grappled with their identities and places at Tulane. These students have wrestled with the burden of representation at an institution where they have not always been able to find a home.

It is time The Hullabaloo began to think critically about what it means to be the eyes and ears of a community in which so many of our peers have felt unseen and unheard.

But those of us in the business of telling stories must navigate a changing landscape of journalism that asks us to constantly find our balance between what is comfortable and what is right.

When we don’t speak up, we not only risk leaving stories out, but we also risk letting injustices fester in the crevices of our community. When we speak too loudly, we risk drowning out the voices of our peers. We neglect to give the subjects of our stories a chance to tell those narratives themselves and on their own terms.

Now is as good a time as any for me to admit that I do not have all the answers, not only because I lack the positionality and experiences that might prepare me to, but also because such answers have possibly never before been so difficult to capture, understand and act on.

I’m not sure how we continue on, with one foot in the status quo that insists we hold on to some fleeting, disembodied sense of objectivity, and with the other foot in the too-apparent-to-ignore recognition that we are falling short in our mission of being the eyes and ears of the Tulane community.

But I do know that we are not doing anyone any favors by hiding out in our Lavin-Bernick Center basement office and riding out the storm.

Indeed, a storm is underway – not just on our Uptown campus, but on campuses and in neighborhoods and cities across the country. Tacit compliance is no longer a viable option for those of us who have seen the ways in which under- and misrepresentation is affecting our friends and peers.

Our team of student journalists at The Hullabaloo is a driven, talented and compassionate group of 18-22-year-olds, but I don’t know that we have a plan when it comes to strategically and realistically addressing our own shortcomings and the deficits that we see on campus when it comes to inclusivity and meaningful representation.

But I can promise that we will do better. We will keep at it, in our ill-lit and overheated LBC basement office, trying to tell your stories for the 113th year, only this time with a greater and deeper understanding of what it means to tell someone’s story.

As we work through our own shortcomings, please feel free to submit suggestions on our website, and know that no matter your background, affiliation or orientation, you will always have a place in our office and on our pages.

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