When Campus Feminism Isn’t Good Enough & Neither is the Campus Times

So recently, I dared to  extend my writing abilities to the Campus Times, and wrote a club profile for their features section. There had been talk that they were in  need of interesting and meaningful features, and I figured I had the story that fit those parameters. I had been lending my eyes and ears to the Womanist Club for some time, and I felt that their journey to club recognition was empowering.

The Womanist Club has been making their debut through their Womanist Week programming that touches on topics like  black women in stem, the hijab, the Latinx identity, the Asian patriarchy, and violence against trans woc. If you can, support intersectional feminism and attend!

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Click on it and say you’re going!

I felt compelled to write this profile  because given the climate of diversity at this school, clubs that advocate for social awareness more often than not tend to take on one voice—one that isn’t very colorful to say the least.  In the case of campus feminism, there hadn’t been a group that had said, ” Hey guys, here is another way to practice or further explore feminism.” The Womanist Club is the pioneer of that approach.

Many times these questions and concerns weren’t addressed to us women of color, but to reach out to College Feminists […] asking for their permission essentially to exist as a group.

-Taylar Mouton, Womanist Club President

I encourage you to read the Campus Times article yourself…

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Excerpt from CT article, click to read more

 

However, understand that the article has been doctored by the Campus Times and because of the disposition of some their staff, their process, and my ensuing graduation, I will most likely never be writing for them again. Alright lets break down the receipts.

judge judy facepalm GIF by Agent M Loves Gifs-source

DISCLAIMER: if you’re a member of the CT and none of what I’m about to disclose applies to you, then feel free to chill out 🙂

Long story short, some people in the CT who dedicate the extra moments of their lives to communicatory practice, don’t actually know how to communicate.

I was diligent to present my pictures, my rough draft on time, and respond to edits. Despite being told that my feature would be placed in the print edition, alas, Monday comes and  it was nowhere to be seen. One of my sources asked if it would print next week, in hopes that she would see her name or face in the paper. I had to explain that due to the dates in they story, printing it late wouldn’t do. After doing some reflecting, I had a bit of forgiveness because I figured that the online edition was better than nothing.  After all, climate change…save the trees…

However, I looked throughout the day and its wasn’t there.  I contacted a member of the CT staff the next day to ask for a confirmation of the article upload. I am given a mix of responses along the lines of “Its not in my control,” “There’s a lot going on,” and “I don’t have time for this.” Most of all, I was met with a lack of transparency.

F U  F A C T: If you are not a columnist, Campus Times will not allow you to view the final edits of your work.  Which means that what you see online or in print may include content changes that you didn’t authorize.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for grammar, clarity changes, and making things concise. In my first draft I didn’t define the word “misogynoir.” The CT, rightfully so, added a hyphen and attempted to define the term in the article.

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The correct definition of misogynoir simply means misogyny against black women. Hence the suffix “-noir.”  That’s it.

I later learned, without conferring with me as a writer, the CT added this:

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I never reached out to Alex Guerrero, but the CT felt the need to write on my behalf, ironically for the sake of seeming fair and transparent. If the quote that my sources provided was not false, what is the reason for giving a quote that simply confirms what that source already said? further more, why wasn’t I simply asked about providing a corroboration of the quote?

There were other edits that were made without my input. Many of them just resulted in a few clunky sentences here and there.

Why can’t the editing process be a full collaboration between the writers and editors?

After discussing this all with a journalism professor he failed to see how it was a quality journalistic practice. When I asked a member of the CT why this rule existed, they couldn’t give me answer. Those that staff the CT should be able to amply defend the practices they abide by. Being unable to do so creates contingencies that affect the general credibility of the CT.  So maybe the next work assignment for the CT should be actually finding the logic behind their “practices”, because clearly this isn’t what transparency in a newsroom is supposed to look like. The above practice reinforces a heavy hierarchy that shouldn’t exist, and allows too much leeway for people who may not have special knowledge of social issues to fudge up the details of a story when they have no reason to do so.

Revolutionary acts look like defending the relevancy of your club to complete strangers over and over again. Submitting a feature piece to the CT shouldn’t be a revolutionary act. It shouldn’t have to be appealing to a dismissive panel of editors in hopes that they won’t mishandle a story you wrote. A contributor shouldn’t have to suffer inconsistencies and lack of follow through that allows for their story to slip the cracks. Respect and collaborative editing shouldn’t be reserved to columnists. Internal conflicts of a newsroom shouldn’t impact a contributor’s work or the overall due process of a small university newspaper.

Advice to Campus Times: Try actually listening to all your writers because without  writers you wouldn’t have a paper print.

Thank you to those of CT who do the best they can to offer transparency and quality communication. You know who you are. Keep doing what you’re doing.

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