To Overheard: Journalists make sacrifices

My name is Emily Elliott, and I’m a pretty non-confrontational, neutral person — except when it comes to the fact that there is no one the Trinitonian frustrates more than myself.

This might be the first time I’ve ever publicly voiced an opinion, so I’ll give you some context on what finally prompted me to: this weekend, the Trinitonian came under heavy fire when last week’s editorial was shared to Overheard at Trinity, a Facebook group. The editorial is a weekly commentary written by one of the head editors — in this case, it had been written by the editor-in-chief, Daniel Conrad. It is almost always written without interviewing external sources; it’s also principle to not interview members of staff for any article to avoid conflicts of interest. The editorial, simply put, is just an opinion article from one of the executives.

As hard as I tried not to follow the drama surrounding this week’s editorial, I found myself constantly checking the post to see what new complaints and responses had been posted. The editorial in question discussed how conservatives on campus are “winning” — that article has been interpreted in a variety of ways, and I think everything that could be said about it has been said. I don’t want to talk about that article anymore — I want to talk about comments made towards the Trinitonian.

“See, I think the problem with this argument is that the author assumes that the Trinitonian is actually widely read or relevant,” commented Claire Steinman.

Claire’s comment was surprising, but she wasn’t the only one who was frustrated with the Trinitonian.

“In other news, the Trinitonian is made up of apparently 40 active students who belong to other organizations, so if you all talked to each other, you could figure out how to report on what is going on,” commented Andrea Acevedo.

In a now-deleted post, Andrea also accused the Trinitonian of “doing such a shit job of journalism that they don’t even know what’s going on on their own campus, much less how to write about it.” Ouch. These comments felt incredibly aggressive, and I’m not even one of the 40 active Trinitonian workers; I was, however, on staff for three years. I initially only joined my first year with the intention of meeting new people, and years later, I’m lucky to have worked alongside some of my closest friends — but not without tons of blood, sweat and tears.

On production nights, I would sit in front of a computer for about 12 hours laying out and editing my section of the paper. I would spend every moment in between classes collecting interviews, contacting sources and handling conflicts for my reporters. My boyfriend and I lived in different time zones last year, so we had limited opportunities to talk; every week, I’d have to sacrifice at least two days of talking to him because I was too busy working on the Trinitonian.

It was difficult to interact with some of my closest friends when they became my bosses, and when I had conflicts with other members on staff, they were always disregarded. On top of everything, I was constantly talking and meeting with other members of staff to ensure that we were sharing the most relevant, informative articles possible. My experiences on the Trinitonian were rewarding, but ultimately, I felt so frustrated by how demanding it was that I felt it would be best to give up my position to someone who wasn’t so burnt out.

While I may have quit out of frustration, I still admire the efforts of all of my friends on staff, and ultimately, none of us made our sacrifices only to have the paper be vilified on Facebook, of all forums — especially by someone who has little respect for the publication, but had recently been happy to be featured in the paper.

I get it — to some, it felt like Daniel may have undermined the devoted efforts of certain groups on campus; maybe it felt right to fight fire with fire and attack the efforts of Trinitonian as a whole, but as I said earlier, that editorial is a reflection of the opinions of one person. I don’t think it’s fair to say that the efforts of staff members like sports editor Julia Weis, who is hoping to become a journalist after graduation, or advertising director Rebecca Derby, who has spent every spare second she has speaking with clients, are invalid because one person wrote an opinion piece that you disagree with.

The criticism seemed especially misplaced because the Trinitonian staff have covered these political efforts and the students who drive them in the past — they even ran an advertisement for PRIDE in the same issue this editorial appeared in.

The Trinitonian is composed of students of all backgrounds and beliefs, and the editors do an incredible job of promoting the activities and events of every organization on campus. There’s only so much that can be done, however, when students ignore requests for interviews, and the opportunity to share events escapes  — this happens weekly, and I speak from experience when I say that it’s usually with people who are proud and excited to share their passions with the campus, which is an absolute shame.

To conclude, all I have to say is this: I can’t see why y’all are so overwhelmingly angry over a paper that “isn’t actually widely read or relevant.” I mean, after all, no one’s reading their articles, right?