Making mistakes, learning from them a part of the Stater, too

Rachel Abbey

You learn from your mistakes.

Don’t touch a hot pan on the stove. Don’t write a rough draft with pen. Don’t take your pet bird outside for a little fresh air.

At the Stater, we’ve had some trouble, this semester and in the past, addressing diversity at Kent State. We’ve been told our coverage focuses too heavily on white students and neglects minority viewpoints. Minorities tend to show up prominently only when we’re covering a “black issue,” a “foreign-student issue,” etc.

Upon some reflection, we realized this has been true in many cases. We apologize to anyone in our audience who has felt left out or underrepresented.

But sorry is not enough.

This oversight hasn’t been intentional, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn from our mistakes. And learn we will.

It can be difficult for a student newspaper to get at the heart of an issue. So often, reporters get caught up in writing about specific events, rather than focusing on the big picture. It’s a matter of time and resources. Our small group of dedicated journalists really does care about the Kent State community. But there’s only a few of us and so many of you.

We need you to tell us what you feel is important.

Next semester, I will be editor of the Daily Kent Stater. I want to change the way students interact with the Stater to give more people a chance to get their opinions heard. While we’ll still encourage and appreciate letters to the editor and guest columns, we know not all students have the time to sit down and type out a few hundred words. That’s what comments and message boards on our Web site are for — a quick, easy way to be heard.

Some of you write more than enough for classes and don’t even want to look at a keyboard by the end of the day. That’s OK too. You still deserve to be heard.

I plan to hold open forums where students can come and discuss issues that are important to them. I also want to meet with different student groups to listen, informally, to their concerns and worries.

We all know racial tension is a big deal at Kent State, but we only talk about it as a community when something actually happens: When a student suspects police of racial profiling, when some disgruntled teens vandalize their high school, when a newspaper uses an offensive term.

It’s time we address these tensions without a catalyst.

Feel free to contact me anytime, this semester or next, to talk about your concerns. I’m here to listen. Journalists are supposed to be the voice for the people.

Let us be your voice.

Rachel Abbey is a junior newspaper journalism major and managing editor of the Daily Kent Stater. She will be the fall editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].