Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Chances are you’re a Swattie, an ex-Swattie, maybe even a Swattie’s parent. But whether or not you’re in college, chances are you’ve got a vibrant intellectual life. You’ve got a rabid curiosity, an eagerness to go beyond to learn, and an appreciation for the fact that there will always be something you don’t know.
We’re long past the age when individuals could claim to know all there is to know, and more knowledge is pouring out of every corner of humanity each day. The globe has miraculously shrunk in recent decades, as technology–first telegraphs, then telephones, then satellites, all capped off by the Internet–has brought people and their diverse sets of knowledge closer together.
In our world, the exchange of information (not to mention the protection of information) is increasingly viewed as equally significant as the production of physical goods. Now, a CEO in Atlanta can plan with a manager in Taiwan and a creative team in San Francisco just as rapidly as a refugee in Turkey can talk to a relative in Syria while reading updates from Doha or Washington. These are instantaneous connections. The web of ideas is at our fingertips.
During this whole revolution, journalism has followed along swiftly. Whether or not it’s changed for the better is overshadowed by the fact that it’s changed for good. There’s a high probability that if you’re reading this, you’ll also check on The New York Times online at some point today, or perhaps The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, even Reddit. The landscape for online journalism evolves every couple of months.
If you grew up listening to NPR in your car, maybe nowadays you also load your iPod full of This American Life before starting your day. If you ever read Newsweek magazine, you know they’ve banked their future on Internet sensation The Daily Beast. If you’re a politics junkie, you may or may not be in love with Politico, but you certainly know that Washington hasn’t been the same since it first appeared in 2007.
As you probably know, just this summer the founder of the largest web store in the universe bought the capital’s newspaper of record with his own personal fortune. The Qatari news organization Al Jazeera started a television channel targeting the same audience that tunes in to CNN and PBS. The list goes on.
At Swarthmore, we at The Daily Gazette have embraced this information revolution as we strive to be your portal to campus news and culture. Since we were founded in 1996 as an online-only newspaper, our stories have appeared in the emailboxes of all students, faculty, and staff, as well as many alumni and family members. With daily Facebook updates and tweets to our 1150+ Twitter followers, we have fully entered the social media sphere. Our paper’s goal is to be up there on your morning to-do list, right next to grabbing breakfast and deleting your Quarantine Summary.
If you’re new to our site, take a minute to click around. Soon you’ll find stories about clubs, teams, administrators, works of art, and much more, usually as articles but frequently as videos and even as podcasts. The fall semester has barely started, and the same goes for us. But our team is kicking into high gear to produce the great content Swatties have come to expect from us over the past nearly two decades.
If you were here last year, you remember “Brought to Light,” the series we published about the experiences of survivors of sexual assault here at Swarthmore–some of which had until then been shoved under the rug. You remember when we scooped the administration’s estimate on the cost of fossil fuel divestment ($200,000,000)–information that had evaded release until then. You remember reading both the strange and the serious in “The Swatter,” campus’s weekly public safety report, made widely accessible only at The DG. You remember that we’re the place to catch wide-ranging and insightful interviews with the various speakers, artists, and advocates who come to campus, as well as with top administration officials such as President Rebecca Chopp or big-time donor and Board of Managers Chair Gil Kemp ‘72.
And of course you remember our annual April Fools’ day editions, where greek life gets mixed up with ancient Greece and Dean of Admissions Jim Bock ‘90 implements a college hipster quota.
Before long, the comments sections will heat to a boil with the sometimes-wise, sometimes-intoxicated (-intoxicating?) thoughts Swatties spew out throughout the day and late into the night. You may ask yourself what all the buzz is about, but the truth is that online, campus happenings enter seminar mode, where almost everyone has an opinion or something to say.
Let’s face it: Swatties are plugged in. The 21st century is here, and The DG is reporting for duty.
Andrew Karas ’15
PS: If you’ve ever considered writing for campus media, be sure to shoot us an email. We are ALWAYS excited to bring on new students, and training is on us. Whether you’re considering a career in journalism, or coming in with zero experience as a reporter, we promise a warm welcome.
Hoorah for the Daily Gazette! As an avid reader, I would like to propose a change in the culture of DG comments. I think anonymity should be the exception rather than the rule. We need to be able to talk to each other and hash out ideas and conflicting plans for Swarthmore’s futures. I know that I always hesitate to post (this is my second post of all time and the first post with my name) for fear of the snarky and demeaning put-downs from Swatties who would most likely not speak to me in such terms were we to speak in person. Anonymity is a valuable tool to having tough discussions, but it should not be used merely to support “witty” one-liners and we should stop responding those comments. This is simply an idea, and I would love feedback about how to make the DG a place of constructive conversation rather than petty fights against trolls.
What you’re floating is more than an idea–it’s an idea that we’ve heard from many people. Stay tuned for potential policy changes in the next couple of weeks. No promises, but I wanted to let you know that we’ve been thinking about this too.
wht about implementing a reddit style comment system?
although i also do enjoy reading the downgraded comments on the dg; always provide another perspective on issues, despite them being mostly stupid most of the time
id also like to encourage the daily gazette (and the phoenix (come on phoenix! what happened to your investigative journalism??)) to continue its focus on campus issues. as an alum, i was immensely proud of the dg for bringing issues to the light, even against the administration’s wishes
a true intellectual community musn’t be afraid to confront issues head on and directly. fear of speaking and Swattie intellectualism dont miss
however i cant demonize the Chopp administration too much. at least our admin has been open to change and allows these intense debates; i cant say the same for our peer colleges and universities
TL:DR Dg keep up the good work. Give them hell. And keep intellectualism and campus discussion alive! <3
I am an alum (class of ’78) and an active reader of the DG. I too agree with Maria that anonymity should be the exception, rather than the rule. Many fora do not allow anonymous postings, FB being one of the most prominent. There are certain instances when anonymity may make sense, and the editors can determine the validity of that, but I would like to see a reduction in the ad hominem attacks that occur when someone doesn’t like what another says, and has no qualms about writing hateful things because they can do so anonymously. It cheapens the debate.
I am glad to hear that the DG is revisiting their policy on anonymity, and look forward to the year ahead and what I will read on the DG.