The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Editor’s response

First, thank you for writing in. We always appreciate it when readers express their opinions, whether they are complementary or contradictory to our own.

That the S&B is inadequate is an age-old complaint—here we refer you to “This Week in Grinnell History” on the back page. There is always criticism directed towards the staff of this student-run paper, and, given the problems you cite in your letter, your criticism is absolutely understandable.

For a newspaper that employs 13 students with the title of editor, it is certainly frustrating to be seemingly inundated with errors. That being said, this is an extracurricular activity that often requires more time than a staff of full-time students can reasonably lend. Your statement that we do not “proof-read, tweak, and, oh my gosh, edit” is both inaccurate and offensive in tone.

The writers and editors of the S&B put many hours of work into each week’s newspaper, and yet, like most pieces written on this campus, our work is still often flawed. Yes, Grinnell is a school that is known for producing good writers, but it is worth noting that many of our writers are students who have been at Grinnell for a grand total of five weeks. As editors, one of the most important aspects of our job is to foster and support those inexperienced journalists in becoming better, more confident writers over time.

That aspect of our job, compounded with all our other weekly responsibilities, makes the first few editions of each year’s paper a bit more prone to errors than is generally acceptable.

But instead of starting a new student paper to protest the S&B’s perceived inadequacy, as was done in 1980, or taking red pens to newspapers that have already been published, we invite people to lend a helping hand. You seem to have a penchant for copy-editing, so we encourage you to come in to the office next week and help out.

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