Back in Nov., we met for our monthly Editorial Board meeting to discuss updates for the publication. As writers for The Herald, people often share information with us about the campus community. We began talking about recent topics that were floating around campus like Meredith’s budget or how student workers were treated. There were moments where two or three of us had similar insight, but none of us were completely aware of everything going on. Then we realized: neither is everyone else at Meredith. It was then that we settled on the idea of creating a special issue.
Thus began the five-month process of creating this special issue. Our first brainstorming session resulted in 12 article concepts. From weekly editing sessions to impromptu meetings about the publication date, we worked tirelessly to perfect the issue—all while keeping it a secret from the rest of The Herald’s staff.
As a student publication, our goal is to accurately represent what is happening at Meredith by spotlighting important issues impacting our student population and ensuring that our campus is fully represented. The job of a journalist is to serve their community by providing as much information as possible and by amplifying the voices of those who do not feel heard. This improves the transparency and truth of the campus and our own organization. We are the eyes and ears of each student, and all of us should have access to information that is vital to our campus experience.
The Herald, as a Board and as a publication, has grown and developed leaps and bounds over the last year. It seems only fitting that the Meredith community be an integral part of that growth. With this in mind, one of the essential purposes of this publication is to cultivate fair, honest and accurate conversation about relevant topics to the campus and the community surrounding it. The intent is never to produce negative retort, but there is also no intent to encourage comfortability.
Our decision to write this special issue was driven in part by the need for public discourse. The article topics have drawn interest for some time. However, the curiosity for context is sometimes met with backlash. People are shamed for their natural desire for knowledge if it’s believed to be for the wrong reasons. It is important to note that not everything happening at Meredith is cause for concern. There are organizations and events that improve the campus environment and don't always receive recognition. The ones that are more controversial can be difficult to hear. However, it is essential to acknowledge these issues and have open discussions about them to find solutions.
In the current climate of Meredith and our generation, there is a strong investment in figuring out the "why" of our surroundings. Meredith has already seen several examples in this year alone. From the "Meredith is Dying" message on the Free Expression Boards to student outcry about Ring Ceremony’s location, people are interested in the context of their community and finding their role in it.
As journalists, there is a responsibility to create awareness and representation for all voices across the Meredith community. Part of the job is recognizing and navigating the chasm between the importance of uncomfortable conversation and uplifting members of the society. When balance of the two is found, it provides a platform for Herald journalists to give readers greater insight into behind-the-scenes information that shapes the college experience for most individuals, even if that means that a difficult story has to be addressed. A difficult (but necessary) conversation cannot absolve anyone from placing power in the hands of the community. The Herald continues to work to be that source of power.
The Herald aims to be a safe and inclusive platform where everyone can engage in this kind of discourse. We believe that by opening up the conversation and practicing transparency, we can create a better, more productive community. As current students, we are just as invested in the longevity of Meredith College. This can only happen if everyone feels that they are heard and valued. We want to create a platform for people to voice their opinions and address uncomfortable issues.
There is power in conversation. A conversation between the 10 people on our board led to 12 in-depth articles spanning multiple topics. One conversation opened the door for something great. Our hope with this issue is to shed light on some of the most important issues on Meredith’s campus. We thank you for engaging with this issue and all of our work, and hope that this will be the first step in a larger conversation about the future of Meredith and the responsibility that each of us has in shaping it.