It’s your paper; embrace the column

Alyssa Mosher - From the Editor (Tom Bateman/AQ)

One of the great things about producing a student newspaper is that it generates conversation.

We see what you’re reading; we hear from you and sometimes we overhear you. Whether that feedback is good or bad, we’ve got people talking. An engaged audience is a good one.

The other day I heard someone say The Aquinian was column-heavy this year. I didn’t take the comment as negative or positive – I didn’t want to assume – so I decided to take it at face value and take the opportunity to explain what our columns represent.

The answer? They represent everyone.

Now, I know that might seem ridiculous – how can you represent all students at St. Thomas University, Alyssa? Are you sure you’re not digging for gold here?

You know, I don’t think I am.

This year we have roughly 15 columns, with about half appearing in the paper each week. The topics cover everything from politics to sex to human rights to humour to movies to reporting, which brings me to another great thing about student newspapers: diversity.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this year I want The Aquinian to be for and about everyone at St. Thomas. The Aquinian has been dismissed by some as a clique for journalism students. I think it’s fair

to say we’re moving away from that label and I want to make sure that continues.

The columnists at The Aquinian allow STU students to open the paper and recognize a face or name and say, “Hey, isn’t he in my history class?” Although columns are opinion-based – which means there is such as thing as too many columns in a newspaper – I don’t think there’s anything wrong with attracting eyeballs.

In Ella Henry’s column “From College Hill to Parliament Hill,” which appears in the news section every second week, we hear from a former student politician and her take on political decisions or events that could affect us here at STU. For contrast, we have Sean Thompson’s “Political Animal,” a returning column.

The opinion section has Sharon Fawcett’s “Getting it Right,” a column that digs into human rights issues worldwide. I was particularly excited about this column because STU has a strong human rights advocacy community and I wanted The Aquinian to speak to those concerns.

The sports section has a few columns as well, including Sean O’Neill’s “More Than the Score,” where he’ll dive into a sports issue every second week in a creative way that makes everyone want to read his column.

Our features editor Lauren Bird has column that often involves a bit of reporting. This week she tells a moving story about her uncle who was recently killed in a pedestrian-car accident, something that seems to happen too often here in Fredericton.

The features section also brings us Georgia Brown’s “Blood, Sweat and Tofu,” a column about eating healthy and how easy it can be. And to scratch the records a little bit, we also have two sex columnists who’ll rotate each week. And who doesn’t love a good, relateable sex column – let alone two?

Then of course, there’s theAQ Postscript, our back page, which gives anyone on campus the opportunity to show off their creative side. We have Joy Watson’s witty “Theatre Crasher” and the artsy-fartsy satire of Arte Mechante.

Let me bring this back to diversity, to discussion, to representation – that’s The Aquinian’s goal this year.

And while we might not always strike gold, we think we’ll uncover perspectives that are rare, unpredictable and valuable.

So we want to hear your voices, whether that’s through our articles, in our diverse columns or directly through word of mouth or an emailed letter to the editor.

Remember this is your paper; so I say, embrace the columns.

If you have comments about The Aquinian or have something to say about goings-on on campus or around the world, send a letter our way to talkback@theaq.net.

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