College Newspapers “Floundering?”: A Tripod Investigation

Gillian Reinhard ’20

Features Editor

Recently, a student claimed that Trinity’s own school newspaper is “floundering.” Certain forces have unfortunately prevented an official response from the Tripod. As the former editor-in-chief of the paper, however, I considered what that assertion might mean and its validity.

Throughout my tenure as editor-in-chief, several groups on campus have threatened to start their own newspaper—one better run, less biased, and with fewer grammatical mistakes than the “failing” Tripod. However, none of them have really seemed to hit the ground running, and the Tripod is, regrettably, our campus’ only regular print student publication. Nearby, Wesleyan University boasts seventeen student publications. I wondered, why can’t Trinity support more than one weekly, or even monthly, publication? And, is Wesleyan an outlier or the standard at other NESCAC schools? 

I reached out to Christina Perrone ’20 of The Bates Student, Louisa Goldman ’20 (co-editor: Shoshi Leviton ’20) of The Colby Echo, and Sophia Angele-Kuehn ’20 (co-editor: Jozettte Moses ’21) of The College Voice (Connecticut College) to learn more about how other college newspapers undertake any given semester of printing. 

The Tripod seems right on par with its peer newspapers. Like the Tripod, The Bates Student and The College Voice publish 12-page issues, covering sections such as news, opinion, features, arts, and sports. However, both have moved to an “every other week” format, typically publishing twice a month. The Colby Echo publishes weekly, like the Tripod, with 8-page issues. 

The Tripod maintains a small staff of just 12 regular contributors, in comparison to the Echo (25 members), the Student  (20 members), and the Voice (24 members). “All our members are committed to making the newspaper successful with every issue,” said Connecticut College editor Sophia Angele-Kuehn. Christina Perrone of Bates agreed, remarking that “Everyone on the team is fully committed and willing to pull more than their own weight to get things done.” 

While many other NESCACs do have other regular student publications, Wesleyan’s seventeen appears to be an apparent outlier. Goldman, of the Echo, commented that Colby does maintain one other regular publication, a political magazine. At Connecticut College, Angele-Kuehn explained that the college supports several publications—including Cadenza, a literary and arts magazine, theLOOK, a fashion magazine, and the online Her Campus. “All of us are constantly aware of and conversing with one another,” she explained.

Many NESCAC publications have some sort of compensation system for their student editors and employees. As Goldman explained, she is paid $12 hourly at Colby for her work as editor-in-chief. The entire staff of The Colby Echo is paid, as are all members of The Bates Student. At Connecticut College, the bi-monthly Voice staff is not compensated for their work. 

If there is one similarity between the Tripod and its peer student newspapers, editors are up late. From Colby, to Bates, to Conn., to Trinity, students are staying up until midnight or later to create a product their respective college audience expects regularly. 

“We are definitely seeing the Echo become a more respected entity on campus, and hope that continues through the next few years,” said Goldman. “Shoshi and I are dedicated to increasing the journalistic integrity of the paper.” At Bates and Connecticut College, editors have similar goals toward making their college newspapers more sustainable, particularly shifting to a more visible online platform. 

“Collegiate journalism to me is a particular form of journalism aimed toward representing college students’ voices (thus, The College Voice!)” said Angele-Kuehn. “Writers are free to express their thoughts on what they think is right and wrong on-campus and in the world, and where they want to see change.”

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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