“Were it left to me to decide whether to have government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate to prefer the latter.”
As this school year comes to a close, we’ve begun to look ahead to next year and the future of The Voice. While excitement and anticipation are clearly in the forefront, concerns loom overhead.
We are still without an adviser. Although our staff has succeeded at doing, not only our jobs, but filling the void of another, it does not excuse the fact that the adviser position remains unfilled.
The relationship with an adviser is not something that blooms overnight. Keith Gave, as a teacher and adviser, provided the perfect balance of reward and punishment. He knew exactly when to give praise and exactly when to put us in our place. He provided guidance and feedback for our writing, constantly pushing us to be the best reporters we can be. And we need that.
We need someone to be our advocate. A paper run by relatively inexperienced students is vulnerable to anyone who tries to influence our voice. Without an adviser to defend the best interests of the students and the publication, we’re susceptible to those who try to impose their agenda upon us.
As a staff full of students, it is intimidating to hold all the pieces of a hard-hitting story with questions on ethics and reputation. We have a duty to our students to bring to their attention everything that pertains to them and the school. Without an adviser to keep watch, how do we know when we’re treading a line we shouldn’t cross?
We have pushed through our issues without an adviser, but that doesn’t mean that it was easy, and that doesn’t mean that there weren’t barriers to hurdle every step of the way. The fact that the paper still stands today is a mere testament to the strength of our staff.
An adviser not only advises, but also teaches. For interested students walking into TI 106, weak foundational journalism skills are usually the only thing that hinders their progress. With the current staff filling the shoes of an adviser, there is little time to spare for lessons in AP Style or ethical standards.
If not for Gave, the prospective editors for next year may have never even taken the dive head first into journalism. With an adviser to show you the ropes and forgive you for being a beginner, it is a much smoother ingratiation for newcomers into the workflow of the newsroom.
The Washtenaw Voice is a legacy of this institution. For the last half-century, countless student editors, photographers, designers and reporters have passed through the doors of WCC with the same goal in mind – to provide its loyal readers with stories of outstanding students, beloved teachers and keeping everyone up to date on the latest campus news.
The Voice is given awards and showered with praises, but where is all the love when we need it? If there is such a legacy seen in The Voice, why are we left without an adviser to fight and fend for the hope of keeping our own voices alive?
We are led to believe that the administration is working to get the advisor’s seat filled, although we haven’t seen much proof. All we are left with now are meaningless promises, false reassurances and an empty adviser’s office.