Exactly what a student newspaper should be
From the Far Lane
Taking charge of the best university student
newspaper in the country, and the only daily, can be a daunting
The Gazette’s overall goals — inform, entertain
and create discourse — don’t change from year-to-year,
but as a newspaper driven by its staff, its tone certainly
The best way to describe The Gazette this year is with one
word: vociferous. And that’s exactly why this year has
been such a tremendous success. In terms of news, entertainment
and sports coverage, we’ve focused on student-driven
issues, specifically pertaining to Western’s campus.
But vociferous also means controversial, and the more sensitive
members of the university community haven’t, um, appreciated
some of the humour, opinion or political commentary found within
these pages this year.
And this reality took the paper from just being “solid” to
being truly excellent.
No matter what the tone of The Gazette in a particular year,
all Editors-in-Chief of the past have learned one thing: you
can’t make everyone happy. No matter how sanitary or
bland we could have tried to make the paper, someone on campus
would have been offended by something.
Contrary to what some individuals believe, newspapers — particularly
student newspapers — do not exist in a vacuum and nor
do they exist just to provide a play-by-play on what is happening
on campus. It’s more than that. Much more.
In the current climate of ever-increasing political correctness — something
that has truly developed into the equivalent of modern-day
McCarthyism — if there is any room in a free society
for a newspaper to “push the edge” it has to be
But universities, “the last bastions of free speech,” have
paradoxically cultivated a sinister form of censorship; they’ve
become environments where hurt feelings denote discrimination,
opinion denotes harassment and humour somehow creates victims.
Of course, there has to be a line. Racism, sexism and libel
have no place in a free society. But just because you don’t
like something doesn’t make it any of these things.
The vast majority of Western students have enjoyed reading
their newspaper this year. They’ve appreciated a forum
where important issues, even controversial ones, can be discussed,
explored and be subject to ridicule. They appreciate a student
newspaper that does more than relay dry facts — students
want a paper than provides objective reporting, but they like
a paper unafraid of digging deeper and encouraging free thought.
The vast majority of our readers were also intelligent enough
to understand that opinion is just opinion, and some happily
took advantage of participating in our opinions pages or better
yet, walking through the door and volunteering. Others were
content with following the discourse throughout the year by
making The Gazette part of their daily schedule.
More to the point, despite the minority view, most students
don’t want to see the paper change. Fortunately, they
have a student’s council that understands the importance
of editorial autonomy.
We’ve been accused of ignoring the minority, those who
disapprove of a diversity of opinion and humour the newspaper
contained. But no matter how cautious or spineless we could
have been this year, the minority will always exist; in fact,
those individuals were not ignored, rather, they were recognized