Today, Sept. 21, marks The Meredith Herald’s first print edition of the 2022-23 school year. Like many things at Meredith, The Herald has recently changed—and many of our readers have noticed. We’d like to take this time to formally reintroduce ourselves to the campus community on our terms.
At its core, The Herald is a news source. We often cover on-campus events such as Cornhuskin’ or club activities, but also cover news from the surrounding area. According to the Student Handbook, The Herald is “a vehicle for keeping the community informed and a permanent record of events that occur at Meredith.”
Every year, our staff reflects on what news means to us. News isn’t only defined by the summation of events—it also includes documenting changes at Meredith and amplifying students’ voices throughout that process.
The Herald has experienced a notable shift in coverage, moving from events-based articles to more student-issue-oriented ones.
Articles about Meredith’s general education requirements; student worker wages; gendered language on campus and in admissions; COVID-19 policies; accessibility issues; inconsistent treatment by campus security and more have documented ongoing conversations on campus and shed light on ones previously had in private.
The Herald isn’t new to this kind of coverage. Formerly called The Twig, Meredith’s student newspaper is often used to research Meredith’s history. Researchers pull from op-eds and articles to gauge the campus climate and determine what was considered significant at the time.
During the Spring of 2022, three Meredith students—Hayden Howlett, Inaya Rivera and Landt Smith—worked with Dr. Fountain and the Archives Department to further examine the history of Meredith.
One striking finding was an issue of The Herald (called The Twig at the time) from April 25, 1968 when Meredith was considering integration. The Twig published two supporting and two opposing student opinions about the topic.
At the time, it was rare for students to share what they thought about the decisions of the College. The editor in chief at the time wrote that “students are the news” and that The Twig would “bring student concerns…to the attention of faculty, administration and other students.”
However revolutionary these articles were for their time, they lacked one crucial thing—perspective.
The Herald’s efforts to include student voices at that time were not extended to everyone. There were no articles that actually had the experience of the first Black students on campus or even acknowledged the significance of their presence.
During the summer of 2020, The Herald entered a period of coverage that worked to capture student voices. Students commented on how meaningful it was to read stories relaying their experiences. It was significant for underrepresented students to have their problems formally written about.
The Herald is proud of expanding its coverage. But the truth is, this wasn’t something that could genuinely be celebrated.
Whether intentional or not, students were telling The Herald that they felt their voices hadn’t mattered to the publication.
That’s our purpose this year—to shine a light in the darkness that is exclusion on campus. This doesn’t just mean exclusion from Meredith as an institution—this means exclusion from coverage.
Lacking coverage means that integral parts of Meredith’s history are excluded. There are groups on campus that deserve to be part of Meredtih’s story. They deserve long-lasting recognition.
Groups like Angels for Disability Advocacy have fought against ableist policies and practices on campus.
Groups like the Black Student Union pushed Meredith’s administration to release an apology statement for their response to the Black Lives Matter movement during the summer of 2020.
Groups like Queer Space work tirelessly for more inclusive language for trans, non-binary and queer students.
Groups like Angeles Latinas advocate for Latine students on campus.
Student journalism isn’t supposed to be stagnant—it’s meant to reflect the voices of those on campus. And their voices are loud.
As a staff, The Herald is committed to seeking out the untold stories of our community. We’ve made ourselves more available to readers on our website by including the emails of our Editorial Board and a Submit-A-Tip section. We’re also creating positions to examine our publication process and make improvements where needed.
New staff members passionate about telling a story are always welcome, regardless of experience level. The Herald looks forward to working with the Meredith community this year and hopes you’ll continue to engage with our content.
By Aminah Jenkins, Editor in Chief