Examining and Debunking Common Complaints About The Collegian
By Ashley Herber
The Collegian, like any entity, has faults and critics. I’ve heard people say that The Collegian is less useful than other ASWWU departments, that it publishes opinions and not facts, and that it only prints left-leaning political views.
Of course, as a current employee of The Collegian and your 2022-2023 editor-in-chief, I am biased in my arguments. Nevertheless, here are my rebuttals.
When held to the light of other ASWWU departments that provide tangible products, events, and opportunities, people may ask what benefit students gain from The Collegian?
The Collegian provides three things.
First, it offers a place for students to read views other than their own and know there are different ways of looking at the world, as well as to read similar views and know they are not alone.
It is easy to exist in an echo chamber, be it from having friends and family with similar views or from viewing an algorithmic social media page. All ASWWU departments connect students with other students, and The Collegian is no different—only instead of fostering physical or spiritual connection, it fosters connection by helping students understand the variety of perspectives and niches on the WWU campus and escape their own echo chamber.
Second, it provides jobs and experience to students who want to go into publications, news, media, management, marketing, writing, editing, and web design.
Third, The Collegian is a unique space for the student body to take a step back and voice concerns and criticisms as well as engage in local, national, and even global discussions.
All the entities that exist at WWU function like jigsaw puzzle pieces, with each entity contributing in a unique way and working together to make up the whole. No one piece can fill the place of another. The Collegian’s unique function is to have conversations that the other entities cannot have, and The Collegian can do this because it is student run organization committed to connection and dedicated to bringing attention to the issues students face in a professional and accurate way.
What we strive to do with every article is make sure what we publish is factual and relevant. However, it is impossible to divorce articles (founded on interviews with students, staff, and professors) of opinions, and there is no way that every article The Collegian publishes can represent the views of every person on campus. The Collegian publishes opinions, but it also publishes facts—the two are not mutually exclusive.
Does The Collegian publish more left-leaning political views than right leaning ones? Yes (albeit our liberal articles tend to get more attention than our conservative articles).
All ASWWU departments are supposed to reflect the attitudes of the student body to the best of their abilities, and this includes The Collegian. It is difficult to eliminate bias. However, what The Collegian can do is represent a wider range of political, social, and spiritual views. This is one of my goals as editor-in-chief for next year. If you feel unrepresented, apply to work at The Collegian so your voice can be heard. If you have ideas, send me an email or come talk to me.
Contribute to what we publish. Read what we publish. Talk about what we publish.