Above all, the duty of a school newspaper like The UltraViolet is to be a voice for students and the rest of the community. But what troubles me is that when the paper chooses to publish an opinion that a large percentage of the student population disagrees with, it is the paper that is blamed and at fault for trying to include multiple opinions on an issue. Not all of our articles represent the view of the paper. Our editorials represent the collective opinion of the senior editors. However, we also include opinion articles that represent individual views, not that of the paper.
In last issue’s senior editorial, we discussed the importance of having constructive discussions. Most people will easily agree that when talking about an issue, it’s important to understand all the facts. So, it follows that knowing all sides of a critical topic, understanding that there are people who do disagree, is also important. The reaction to our on-point on the water bottle ban last issue especially illustrated the kind of response we don’t want from our readers. The publication was called “privileged” and “disgusting” by some members of our community for even allowing something against the water bottle ban to be printed.
We believe in journalism and freedom of speech. What I want to do, as the former co-editor-in-chief, is ask for all of our readers to engage with the paper. About forty students are on the staff of this publication. That’s a little less than ten percent of the student body. This is a paper by students and for students. We don’t do this to waste our time or your time. Part of our mission statement says that we seek to represent a range of opinions. By publishing articles you may disagree with, we are not trying to take a side. Instead, we are trying to be true to our mission, even if that is uncomfortable for some. Marlborough is about strengthening our community, even with our differences. With today’s political divisiveness, the ability to come together as a community, notwithstanding the differences, is more important than ever.
The newspaper is a marketplace for ideas. Even if these ideas conflict, we celebrate that we can talk about the merits of each. Let ideas compete. Let us discuss them so that we can all learn and grow. It’s easy to criticize reporters, the editors, or the paper in general when there’s no accountability for the hecklers. But, if you disagree with something or feel strongly about anything, I urge you to write a letter to the editor or approach our staff about writing a guest opinion article. If you feel strongly about something, have the courage to stand up and talk about what you believe in, regardless of what the majority opinion is or if it conflicts with something we have published. The paper is a place for discussion, community and transparency. I urge all of our readers to engage with our publication. Transparency and open discussion is what we should all aim for.