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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

What is the role of this paper?

This is the question we have been asking ourselves since we assumed these roles last spring. 

The Campus is unique. We are a weekly paper, run 100 percent by students. In many ways, we are the college’s journalism program, where students teach students. While we would not change a thing, this makes us prone to mistakes — we learn on the job. 

It is important to recognize our own limitations. We are not the New York Times, nor do we wish or strive to be. Our Arts writers are not interested in tearing down the work of student performers. Sports reporters do not file 1,000-word diatribes on a player’s failure to perform at a certain level. And we do not see Old Chapel as our version of the Trump Administration.  

We see ourselves first and foremost as a community newspaper. If we are to succeed, The Campus must be an active stakeholder in the broader Middlebury community, working to inform, and tell the stories of, its readers. We are not stenographers or cheerleaders, but journalists working to capture and understand what life is like here in this moment. 

Our goal: if someone were to open up the pages of this paper 50 years from now, they would be able to take an accurate glimpse into what students, faculty and staff were thinking, feeling and doing at that time. We accomplish this by telling both the good and bad at Middlebury. 

Like all journalists should, we believe our role here is to hold those in power accountable for their actions. When administrators go back on their word or the Student Government Association passes resolutions that do not serve the interests of students, it is our job to ask the tough questions, spend time understanding the history of the institutions and, yes, be adversarial when need be. 

However, it is also important that we recognize the role The Campus plays as one of the largest and oldest student groups on campus. We as editors should not sit in our office and type stories about a community from which we have detached ourselves. On the contrary, when it fits our mission, we are willing and able to be a partner and participate in initiatives that bolster dialogue and community building on campus. 

We recognize that our position atop this masthead is fleeting. After this issue, we will go to press a mere 24 times this year; considering the 218-year history of the institution, and the 113-year history of this paper, that ain’t a lot. 

This paper is more than just those who write for and edit it. The Middlebury Campus holds meaning for many people: those who read, submit op-eds, respond to our emails and share their stories, and especially those who have written, are writing, and will write in its pages. 

As temporary stewards of this paper, we will strive to be fair, accurate, collaborative, committed and unrelenting over the coming months, to be a paper worthy of this community.