Dear Colorado State, This student newspaper is for you. With love, -Erin

Dear alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and my fellow students:

I intended to introduce myself earlier to you, so I apologize for the delay. I didn’t anticipate that my first words to you as editor-in-chief would be about a fake noose found on campus, but the resident assistant who it targeted didn’t anticipate that some of his first conversations with his residents would be about racism. News is ever-changing, and our world is turbulent.

And so, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to run this newspaper and its place on this campus. I’ve been thinking about how I decide which stories demand my attention, or my writing, what stories our newspaper should tell, and what stories you want to read. I don’t have the answer yet (also to blame for this overdue introduction).

There’s no easy way to make that call. Our newspaper is a living, breathing product and reflection of you, every single day. There’s a deadline and a printer, but ultimately the conversations that this newspaper is going to start can’t be answered in a daily news story, like: How do we combat harmful language while adhering to the principles of democracy? What is an appropriate level of tuition and student fees to charge, and does the University have its spending priorities straight? How do we talk about politics on a liberal campus with a strong conservative presence, without becoming as divisive as national rhetoric? Can we protect the women on our campus from sexual assault? And, if we can, why aren’t we?

If these were easy conversations to have, the Collegian wouldn’t be the entity to start them. What I want this newspaper to be – what I think journalism is and must continue to strive to be – is a starting place, a neutral ground to start the conversation. We don’t seek to answer the questions. We simply seek to ask them. This thing happened; we think you should know about it, here you go, and what do you think?

^^ That’s who our newspaper is.

Who I am:

I love the gray area – hardly anything worth talking about is black and white. I dislike public recognition. I’m very politically engaged. I love deeply and sacrificially. I don’t sleep a lot, but I’ve had mild insomnia since I was a kid, so it doesn’t bother me. I spent a couple years as a resident assistant in Corbett Hall. I recently adopted a puppy! (She’s sweet, and incredibly sassy). I’m from and have traveled all over Colorado.

What I did before this:

I spent my summer commuting from Fort Collins to the Denver Post. I worked there under talented editors interning as a business reporter. I wrote a lot. Before that, I was the news editor at the Collegian. Last year we worked to get on solid ground after consecutive years of turbulence caused by student and staff turnover. So, I worked on that, along with orchestrating most of our political coverage during the election season. My first two years on campus I spent news reporting largely focused on covering the student government and other university issues. They like me now, (I think) but they didn’t back then. Such is the push and pull of politics.

Why am I here? What do I even do all day?

I’m here because I love my job, and I cannot understate that. Love is thrown around too often in our dialect, but I truly, unconditionally, love the news and the people who produce it.

I truly, unconditionally, love the news and the people who produce it.

Most of my days are spent directing – making editorial decisions, answering questions and leading our team. I work in the gray area. Sometimes that means taking a step back to let a freshman or sophomore make a hard call. Sometimes it means stepping in to write a sensitive story or keep us on deadline. Like every news story, it’s a balancing act, and I don’t have it figured out yet.

What you should keep in mind while reading us this year:

  • I will personally write every editorial. However, the editorial board will make an attempt to agree on the stance we take. The editorial board consists of our content editors and managing editors: myself, the managing editor, the digital production manager, two news editors, an opinion editor, two sports editors, and two arts and culture editors. Editorials (opinion of the publication) are different than columns (a staff writer’s opinion), and still different from letters to the editor (a reader’s opinion). The Collegianstopped publishing editorials for a time, but I aim to bring them back monthly.
  • My priority is to teach. We are entirely student-run, and I strongly believe that our purpose is to be a lab of journalism. In fact, training future journalists is in our mission statement. That means that we are going to make mistakes. We’ll probably offend you at some point. We might overstep, misstep and fall down the stairs. Know that we want your criticism, your anger and your reactions. It’s the only way we get better. But, stay with us.
  • We don’t represent the University. Thanks to a questionable call by an editing team in the early 2000s, the Collegian is not under any editorial control by CSU. They can’t tell us what to print, when to print or how to print it. We represent you, and we will listen to you.

While it’s difficult for me to be objective on this, I truly believe our publication is on track for an incredible year of growth. I have high standards for myself and my team, and higher goals. I hope you feel comfortable enough to keep us accountable, see enough of yourself in us to keep reading, and are just unnerved enough by our work to keep learning. This newspaper is for you.

With love,

Erin

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