I’ve been asked a couple times this year how we choose the stories we publish for The Aviso. There has been some feedback concerning some of our stories and why we ran them. I would like to reassure you that there is a lot of thought and conversation about each article before it is published.
I was trying to think of a fun way to explain the process, like a Schoolhouse Rock type of song, but I’m not quite sure that would work so well.
We, the Aviso staffers, meet every Tuesday in the basement of the library for our weekly meetings. During this meeting, we plan for our publication two weeks in advance.
The staff has a giant brainstorming session in which the section editors and/or the writers suggest stories that people have come to them with, or things that they might see or hear around campus.
Once topics are brought up, we discuss the relevance they have to Malone students, as well as whether we think the story would be of interest to the student body. Our faculty advisor, Dr David Dixon, is at our meetings to help guide us if we have questions about a specific story and if we should report it. After all, we are students trying to learn.
At the beginning of each year we ask our staff members to read our Policy Manual and sign a paper saying that they have read it and are agreeing to work under it. In the manual it states that:
“As a communitarian paper, we are self-consciously rooted in the values and concerns of the Malone University community expressed in the mission statement and other institutional documents. We seek to be independent in our coverage, serving our core audience of undergraduate students, but remaining within the framework of the Christian university community.”
As reporters, we report what is happening on campus. We remain unbiased toward issues, and allow students to voice their opinions and converse through comments on stories. We also allow students to submit opinion articles, which we will publish if they are based on evidence, and not uninformed prejudice, and are focused on issues, not personal attacks.
There is a lot of thought that goes into our stories, as well as time and effort. With the help of Dr. Dixon, we follow our Policy Manual very closely. We serve the student body, and as I said earlier, we cover what is happening on campus and if someone agrees with it then great! But if someone doesn’t agree then that is great as well!
We encourage discussion on our stories; that way readers can experience other people and their beliefs as well as offer their own. We are a school, and I personally think that since it is a place of learning, we shouldn’t be sheltered to our own beliefs.
We are journalists and we do our best to report unbiased truth, as stated in our mission statement:
“The Aviso is a student newspaper dedicated to providing a realistic educational experience for students of Malone University; to seeking truth and reporting it boldly, fairly and accurately; to enhancing the college community by providing a student voice imbued with truth, responsibility and accountability.”
Samantha Shaffer is editor-in-chief for The Aviso AVW.