“I still believe that if your aim is to change the world, journalism is a more immediate short-term weapon.”
— Tom Stoppard
This year at the Voice, things were a little different. After being led by an adviser who stuck with the paper for a handful of years, a shift happened. The year started with a new editorial team and a new adviser – who, the team met only a couple weeks before our first publication. Even though we were a bit weary at the beginning about getting out that first issue, we can’t believe this is number 18. What started out as a small group of Voicers, turned into a large family by the end of the winter semester.
A student-led publication can be a powerful thing. A roomful of voices trying to speak to, and for, thousands? That’s what we aimed to do, all the while learning about teamwork, deadlines, and journalism. We’ve gotten the opportunity to speak to numerous instructors and departments. We started covering the 2016 presidential candidates — now with only three remaining in the race. We’ve discussed issues that some mainstream media outlets may otherwise shy away from: gender neutrality, gay rights, mental illness, and demagogues running for office, just to name a few.
Not only did we want to talk about what’s going on within our own campus community, but also our surrounding communities. Events happening around town, the Ann Arbor deer cull, Flint’s water crisis, the Detroit Public School System, are just a few examples.
A student-led publication is important. A college newsroom is a place to make mistakes, and learn from them. Yes, at the end of every two weeks is the goal of getting out a paper, but the process can’t be forgotten. The Washtenaw Voice offers the opportunities for growth, not only for aspiring photographers, writers and designers, but also for those who are exploring a new passion or looking to make some new friends through a student organization.
A student-led publication gives the student body a voice. As college journalists, we see it as our responsibility to uphold the wants of our cohort, and make clear the injustices that influence them – whether on a national or local level. Though this isn’t the easiest thing when it comes to reaching our peers in our readership, what we perceive as their needs remains central to our production.
It’s been a hell of a ride to say the least, especially for those on the team who are graduating this semester. We’d like to think a new foundation has been built for those returning next fall. They can take bits and pieces from the last nine months, while making their own mark next year.
Now that we near the end of our road at the Voice, all we can hope is that something we did this year impacted you, our readers, and convinced you to continue picking up the papers created by our successors. Though we may not have been a paper that always hit the national standards of those before us, considering the transitional period that was left before us, we believe the editions we created speak to everything we could have wished for, and we hope that our readers can feel the same.