The major publications on this campus, like the student body and housing system, are largely self-segrating entities. The Daily Pennsylvanian focuses on the issues which concern the largest marjority of students. The Vision and Mosaic focus on issues affecting their readers, the African-American and Asian communities, respectively. The latter two attempt to cover pertinent issues that might otherwise go unheard or mistold. They also feature more varied writing styles, including works of both fiction and non-fiction. Many minority writers choose these avenues of expression over the DP because they offer a more comfortable enviroment than the mostly white DP office. Some also are upset with the DP's coverage and feel a responsibility to tell certain stories from a minority perspective. Unfortunately for the Penn community, their efforts go largely unnoticed. Their combined circulations pale in comparison to that of the DP and tend not to extend beyond the boundries of their own communities. They also are only printed sporodically over the semester, while the DP is a daily. I was not even aware that The Vision existed until I came upon a randomly discarded copy in Houston Hall and was delighted to discover a pleasant mix of poetry and politics. I wish I would have caught the other issues. Cooperation between the DP and these smaller publications would have exciting benefits for both sides as each have things to offer the other. The Vision and Mosaic could share their unque perspectives and the DP could offer its extensive array of resources: an extensive staff, equipment, distrubtion channels and, most importantly, readers. In Friday's DP, I learned that last year the paper proposed a merger with The Vision. The smaller publication would have gained access to the DP's aforementioned resources while maintaining full control over their own editorial content. The merger might have also facilated more minority contribution to the DP as the two publications would have shared a workspace. The Vision ultimately rejected the offer and its current executive editor, Michelle Watson, said, "There will be no merging as long as I'm in control." I doubt I'll ever fully understand such reservations, since they threaten to keep The Vision a paper mostly read by black folks and the DP a paper mostly written by white folks. And the reality remains that with most students uninterested in college radio and television, the DP -- with a readership of more than 20,000 per day -- stands alone as the only major forum of expression on campus. I encourage those who are upset with the DP's coverage to consider contributing to the paper in some form. Columnists, for one, maintain the most distance from the rest of the DP staff, and are only required to report to the office once a week to edit for print. Yet, they are the only writers who have nearly full reign over their subject matter, and their opinions appear on the most-read page of the paper. One might even argue that the DP columnists have the loudest individual voices on Penn's campus. Thus, this position is ideal for minorities who may be intimidated by the paper's racial makeup, yet would like to see its coverage expanded. And for those who don't care for the weekly responsiblity, there are other alternatives for extending one's voice, including writing a guest column on a particularly important issue or even a short letter to the editor. I would also encourage the minority publications to reconsider the substantial benefits that could be garnered from even a minimal relationship with the DP -- especially one that exploites the organization's solid distribution network already in place. If, for example, copies of The Vision were included with the DP, the smaller publication's circulation would increase dramatically, giving students -- who read just about everything to avoid doing homework -- the decision of whether or not to read. As it stands, most students are completely unaware that such targeted publications even exist, and they miss out on an opportunity to gain exposure to issues and perspectives not seen elsewhere. Many people at Penn would like to see our campus become more racially and culturally integrated, and I propose that greater integration on the printed page would be a wonderful place to start.Comments powered by Disqus
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