Voice Myth-Busting

The College Voice is an organization with a long and rich heritage. We not only have history and culture, but also a mythology about the Voice that circulates on campus. Myths, of course, are more than just lies or falsehooods; among other disciplines, anthropology has done much to show the socially productive nature of myths. In light of this, I would like to address some of the most pervasive myths that form the Voice mythol-ogy on campus, because I am concerned about the isolating and silencing effects of these myths.

  1. I need to apply to write an article in the Voice. One of the longest standing mythological stories about our newspaper, this is also one of the most flattering ones. We will not publish your rant about half-cooked noodles at Harris, but for god’s sakes, we much prefer rejecting the article submission to rejecting an application in which you propose that article idea. In other words, no need for applications.
  1. The Voice will give me assignments, telling me what to write about/draw/photograph and what to say about it. We are a crowdsourced newspaper. So, kind of like the internet, but with editorial standards. The pitches we put out are suggestions, ideas to which we really need you to add yours. We love helping generate ideas but aren’t currently in the business of dispensing them.
  1. I have to attend meetings to write for the Voice. Meetings are a time for Monday night snacks and conversations that tend to be fun and sometimes even quite meaningful. But we send out emails to everyone on our contact list about all the ideas pitched and you can write even if you don’t attend.
  1. I can’t write about issues outside of the College in the Voice / I have to write about student concerns only. We are a “community” newspaper, at least in theory, and you can help make us that by thinking and writing about things in the world. We only ask that articles offer something different from what any major newspaper might; we don’t, for example, need another analysis of presidential debates but contextualizing the political climate by leveraging our education to do so is welcome (see In Depth in this issue for one such coverage).
  1. The Voice won’t run my fiction/poetry/drawings/illustrations. We can’t figure out how this myth got around. We have an Arts section to put art in it. Please send us art, broadly defined. Eg. drawings by 4 year olds on front page.
  1. The Voice is mainly interested in advertising Conn and since I already go here, I don’t care about it / I get all my “news” on Facebook anyway, who needs a newspaper? We are trying to move away from the “yay wow the past two weeks had so much cool stuff happen” model to a more interesting and honest way of doing student journalism. The events of campus the past Sunday have shown that social media is disseminating news faster than we can say “print.” We want to slow down news and fill in the gaps.
  1. I am faculty/staff. I have nothing to offer the Voice. Probably the most damaging myth out there, this one not only deprives college employees of a medium of conversing with each other and the broader community, it also renders employees and their concerns almost completely invisible to students, New London readers, parents, trustees, you name it. We do try to cover faculty and staff news, of course, but needless to say we can never know the story the way someone on the other side of the fence can. Please contribute, even if it is a Letter to the Editor.
  1. The Voice has trained journalists on its staff who know what they are doing. They are very cool and intimidating / The Voice has absolute amateurs on its staff who are all super lame nerds. The first version of this myth is most circulated amongst first-year aspiring writers and journalists, while the second circulates amongst cynical seniors and some staff and faculty. Believe it or not, we are neither trained journalists nor total rookies. Writing for the Voice is our training, and training open to the public at that. You can come watch us being cool and lame in turns on Monday, Oct. 24 at 7 pm in Cro 224, or email me at eic@thecollegevoice.org to ask about it. – Aparna