Facing a New Semester in a New World

Image by Kyle Parks.Image by Kyle Parks.

The Free Press enters this semester in a different world than any our editors or writers entered McDaniel in. The landscape of the college, journalism, and the U.S. itself has changed drastically, as we enter the Trump presidency, with all its uncertainties and questions.

But we, as a paper, do not intend to change. In fact, we aim to grow our content and presence to meet the challenges of these changing times, in a way that is beneficial to all our readers. We will court new content and examine new ideas.

This will not be what all of our readers want, and we are aware of this. Many now will call upon us to dive into the partisan fury, to take sides on issues on both a campus and national level. Accusations of bias will undoubtedly be thrown our way by all sides, and some may even dismiss us as purveyors of “fake news.”

We do not reside in any of the partisan camps that have sprung up. We are neither Pro-Trump nor Anti-Trump, neither progressive nor “alt-right.” Our job is to speak to all readers, across the entire political spectrum, and that is what we intend to do.

What does that mean? It means we will continue to both inform and challenge your beliefs, to burst ideological bubbles and shake up consensus wherever it forms. We do not have any sacred cows, nor do we fear disagreement and outrage. We aim to silence none, and to empower all.

We will speak truth to the current power, yes. But we will also allow those often shouted down on our campus to speak. To some, this will be tantamount to normalizing offensive and despicable thoughts and actions. But we remind these people that the key to challenging these views is not to shout them down, but to listen and speak to them as equals.

It is not our job, as a newspaper, to massage the views of any student or group. We are not the creators of bubbles and safe spaces; we are an outlet for debate and free thought.

But as an organization, we also encourage our readers to be vocal. We encourage them to organize, to speak their minds, and to challenge us when they feel we are in the wrong. This is a part of a healthy intellectual debate, and it is the type of action that keeps us vigilant. We welcome criticism and suggestion, and encourage our readers to write to us with their own opinions and letters to the editor.

This new semester will present many challenges for all of us as students and citizens. Many will fear that their livelihoods will be massively changed by the decisions made by our government, or by the actions of those who support them. Others will fear that the increased political polarization of college campuses will leave them silenced by the majority, and that they will be attacked rather than being allowed to speak and have civil debates. These are both concerns we do not take lightly.

But we aim to be the arbiter for these people. We will continue to encourage the free, safe, and open expression of all ideas, by all people, for all to consider and evaluate. We will continue to bring you the news and information our readers need to know, and to give them the facts to make informed decisions. This is the goal we have, and we look forward to working with all of you on it in the coming semester.