Dear Colgate Community,
During our first meeting as editors-in-chief last fall, the two of us decided upon a primary goal that we hoped to achieve come May: leave the paper in a better place than we found it. The goal, at the time, seemed unfeasible. With a budget $3,000 in debt, a smaller-than-average staff and a set of decade-old computers on their last legs, we did not know if we could even continue to physically go to print each week, let alone enact large-scale improvements that would change the paper’s reputation for years to come. As we write this final editor’s column, though, we are proud to say that we have not only accomplished our goal but surpassed it to a degree that we never thought possible.
One of our primary objectives was to produce more investigative pieces and to publish more news-breaking content. And while every year at Colgate has its controversies, we made efforts this year to expand our coverage of those controversies to include in-depth research about the larger context of the issues beyond their specific relevance to Colgate. Our articles on the Alan Dershowitz posters, “It’s Okay to be White” posters, Maroon-News theft and Pep Band March Madness controversy all contained outside research and interviews with non-Colgate community members in order to ensure our coverage was fair, multifaceted and mindful of the fact that what happens here does not exist in the so-called “Colgate bubble.”
We also wanted to publish feature stories that gave our readers more insight into the ins-and-outs of Colgate. In December, we produced a special edition with the theme of “People of the Year” that profiled Colgate’s lesser-known movers and shakers. Cruiser drivers, custodians, career services advisers and dining staff members, among others, were included in this coverage. In March, we printed an in-depth article about the arduous and organized process that Colgate groundskeepers undergo to clear our campus of the high amounts of snowfall we get each year.
But content was not our only achievement. We wanted to kill two birds with one stone by renovating our office. Doing so would both tackle the issue of being understaffed by providing an incentive for students to join the Maroon-News while also providing upgrades the current staff desperately needed. Yet we were fighting an uphill battle from the beginning. People told us that we didn’t really need new computers, or that we could get away with replacing them with used ones. They said that it would cost too much to get new chairs, even though the wheels had fallen off the ones we had.
It wasn’t until Colgate’s former Chief Information Officer Steve Fabiani took the time to visit our office that we finally got the backing for the upgrades we needed. As soon as he stepped foot inside and saw the old computers, the broken chairs and the collapsed shelving, he immediately got on the phone and started advocating for us. His support got us the attention we needed and within a few months, we finally had new computers with upgraded software that significantly cut down the time it takes for us to layout the paper. This boost motivated us to continue to advocate for the Maroon-News’ needs, and we eventually got the chairs and other improvements we needed.
Additionally, we have widened our readership and made the Maroon-News more accessible. After we introduced a digital way of purchasing a newspaper subscription (prior to this year, parents and alumni interested in the paper had to mail in a check), we saw a quadrupled subscriber base. We also began distributing papers to Flour & Salt bakery, where we see some of the highest readership each week. And just a few weeks ago, we launched a brand new website design that is more clear, modern and user-friendly.
Lastly, we achieved a personal goal of bringing one of our favorite journalists, Ann Curry, to campus for the Maroon-News’ annual Milmoe Workshop in Journalism. We are so proud of how far the Maroon- News has come under our leadership, and it will always remain a pivotal part of our Colgate experiences.
Karrie Spychalski & Mara Stein