In January 1990, Harold Ford and Altoine Scarborough had a vision. But it wasn't anything grandiose. Just a simple vision to found a new student publication that would articulate and reflect the different views in the black community. "We wanted to disprove the myth of a monolithic thought process in the black community," College senior Ford said. So together, Ford and Scarborough, began work on The Vision, a black student newspaper for campus which, according to Ford, is the longest-run black publication at the University. Since its humble beginnings when the staff struggled from month to month to find the money needed to produce the monthly publication, The Vision has grown in content, as well as in the number of people it reaches. And as it nears the end of its second year, the paper has a more diverse content with a higher degree of opinions, according to Ford, who began as the paper's managing editor and is currently the editor-in chief. Many black leaders on campus support the paper saying it expresses the views of black students. "I support The Vision whole-heartedly," said Marisa Sifontes, president of the Bi-Cultural InterGreek Council. "I think it is open to all views from the black community." In addition, not only has the paper's circulation grown, enabling it to reach more people, but Ford added that more people, not just black and latino students, can relate to its content. "Any student on can pick it up and appreciate it and learn something from it," Ford said. "I think it is growing in the number of people it is reaching." The paper traditionally emphasizes an important issue or person in the community and use it as a springboard to dealing with a wide range of issues. This month's cover story features a story about the University's Greenfield Intercultural Center. Sifontes agreed saying, "The Vision is a vehicle for black students to express views that aren't normally expressed in the majority newspaper." Located in the Christian Association, the paper's office is small, but filled with Ford's enthusiasm. A core staff of about seven people produce the paper each month, and Ford said the small staff is probably the paper's biggest problem. Scarborough, for example, left the University this year. "Our biggest problem is human capital," Ford said. "If we had more people there would be the possibility of coming out twice a month." Another problem, Ford said, is the difficulty demonstrating to organizations the benefits of advertising in the paper. Ford also added he is slightly worried about the paper's future. The first generation of The Vision staff is about to graduate, and he said he hopes the paper will continue. "If the paper does not last after graduation, we really haven't done anything," Ford said. "Can it become a fixture at Penn?"Comments powered by Disqus
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