Viewpoint: Don’t read ’em and weep: Contribute to the Lariat instead

It’s a new year. Things are changing.

We’re changing, too.

The Lariat itself has been around for a long time, but most of our current staff have not. As a college newspaper, we have a very high turnover rate. Staff members graduate and move on, find jobs. Some staff members only remain for a semester before moving on. New semesters can see a staff with few returning members. For example, the staff five years ago was very different from the staff now.

In fact, the staff this semester is even different than that of last semester, a few short months ago. People have left, others have been hired, and some of those who remain have changed jobs.

Every now and then, I’ll hear “Oh, I won’t talk to the Lariat. A few years back, they misquoted me.” In one case, a certain professor’s grudge extended 28 years. I won’t name names, but this person refused to comment in the paper because of a mistake made in the very distant past.

It’s understandable. No one wants to be misquoted, especially in a public forum. Perhaps the misquote makes you look bad. Newsprint can be unforgiving that way. And we don’t run corrections as front-page stories; they run on page two, as they have traditionally. This structure can leave some feeling disenfranchised, especially if they feel they have been roughly treated by a reporter.

To those who have had a bad experience with the Lariat in the past, I first want to extend a sincere apology on behalf of the paper. We are well-intentioned, but we are also students. We’re still learning, and mistakes do happen. All media sometimes make mistakes. The Lariat does it, but so do outlets such as the New York Times. To correct mistakes is the purpose of editor’s notes, corrections and clarifications. If a mistake is made, we will run a correction or clarification on page two to remedy it as soon as we are made aware.

With that said, to hold a grudge that extends for decades makes little sense. The staff that offended you has long since moved on. We’re a fresh crop of young journalists who are eager to report the news.

Please keep that in mind if you are asked to contribute an interview or comment on an event. We are students who want to make a difference by getting news out using the best sources we can. Before you write off the Lariat, please consider that we are a different paper than we used to be, and we just want to get better. Please give us that opportunity.

Caroline is a junior journalism major from Beaumont. She is the editor- in-chief of the Lariat.