Don’t Panic

Matt McCann

It was an eventful summer, to say the least, in the sometimes-insular world of New Brunswick’s print media, but I came away from it with a greater understanding of the communal nature of responsibility and duty in a newsroom.

In June, writing in a Saturday opinion piece, Toronto Star public editor Kathy English touched on this subject, specifically in regard to errors and corrections.

When an error is made in a Star story and a correction run, she wrote, the newspaper doesn’t “tell readers that mistakes are due to an error by a reporter, a photographer, a researcher, an artist or anyone else in the newsroom. The guiding logic here is the newsroom’s collective responsibility for all of its errors.”

English was writing about a mistake that had been inserted into a story about me – a story, ironically, about a mistake I had made in an article I had written for a different newspaper a few weeks before.

The reason for the Star’s policy (a policy I think is applied at most other newspapers), and the point I’m trying to make here, is that publishing a newspaper is collective effort. The newsroom not only shares the blame when an error is made, but also the duty to put out the best possible work, and ultimately the recognition of any of its outstanding achievements.

This ideal of shared responsibility, whether good or bad, is something that we strive for at the Aquinian as well.

We plan to spend the next year doing our best to bring you relevant, interesting, and important stories from our campus, but also on local, provincial, and national issues. If we succeed at this most of the time, I feel we’ll have done our jobs.

But I would like to expand this notion of collectivity beyond the walls of our makeshift newsroom to you, the reader. This is, after all, your paper, and so you too share some of the responsibility.

So I extend an invitation to all of you to participate in your school’s newspaper, in whatever way you can.

There is a story meeting every Tuesday evening, where writers and editors meet to discuss what stories need to be covered for news, arts, sports and international. Not interested in hard news writing? The opportunity is there for you to write an opinion piece, or a letter to the editor, or even comment on the articles we post online.

Ultimately, your participation will help to make this paper the best it can be.

Finally, I’d like to point out a major change in the Aquinian this year – our website.

We’ve spent the summer building a brand new online presence; one we hope will help bring you more stories sooner, all while venturing into other mediums.

As the school year gears up, we’ll be uploading audio stories and podcasts, video, photo galleries, in addition to four bloggers who will be updating constantly throughout the week.

So please, take the time to visit our site at www.theaq.net, and see what it has to offer.

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