I forgot what I do
Note: Piece was originally written in November of 2011 (and was only published a couple months after that in the Art Co-Op’s zine barely anyone saw). The information is no longer relevant. I hear The Indy/The Brick are actually merging so that sounds good. Also I feel like I’ve gained some writing skills in the 1 and a half+ since I wrote this, but oh well. I just wanted to think about this in preparation for moderating the Dean Haspiel/Pat Giles/The Load panel at Zinefeast this Sunday. Check out their write-up about their time at Purchase here. See you at the panel.
How Purchase News Media Can Raise its Game:
Taking Tips From its Roots and Present-day Consumption
by Olivia Fox (Oliviaemail@example.com)
We’re so lucky to be a part of an amazingly resourceful campus. There are public resources for pretty much any type of help a student might need. Unfortunately, students tend to be unaware of many of the tools available to them, but let’s not get to that problem just yet. Let me get to the point: I work in an obscure department within the Purchase Library called the Visual Resource Center. Say you’re trying to find a little known Picasso drawing you read about but can’t find a picture anywhere-well, you could come to the VRC and we’d help you locate it. This semester, I was given the task of digitizing The Load, Purchases’ first campus newspaper established in 1972 (fun fact: the library has hard-bounded copies of every publication the school has ever produced).
Scanning The Load was enlightening. From the very first issue, students are urged to think, listen, and get involved stating: “Purchase, a new school departing from some of America’s befouled traditions of education and living” (1) and “Hopefully, [The Load] will help pull together a real ‘community,’ but that will only happen when the commitments are made to this community” (2) The Load was both a space for ideas and an outlet for critical reports on the school’s progress. It became an active and central part of the campus. The third issue headlines apathy as a problem in educational places “A favorite pastime at Purchase is bitching and moaning; we can bitch and moan until our teeth fall out, but this will never bring about changes” (3). The editors, designers and reporters genuinely cared about reaching the students and getting them involved.
Does that legacy hold up? Let’s take another Load quote which states the Purchase community “should not eat plastic food on plastic plates with plastic knives and forks and plastic cups just because it is ‘cheaper’” (2) On the one hand, we aren’t served the best food here, given that Chartwellsâ is part of a giant, multi-national, for-profit, corporation called Compass Group (4), but hey, at least our utensils have been (mostly) biodegradable for the past 30 years.
Are The Indy/The Brick hubs of enthusiastic student energy and passion that The Load called for? The Indy does a great job with distribution, but it tends to read more like a casual magazine. The Brick has multimedia tools The Indy’s printed format could never have, but hardly gets around campus at all by comparison. Seems to me like pooling the resources of The Brick and The Indy together would benefit their organizations and our campus greatly.
Look at the state of print media! It’s dying. Major and local papers have had to completely revamp their methods to incorporate technology and social media or face bankruptcy. A printed newspaper on its own isn’t enough anymore, but making allowances for a faster consumer intention span is tricky. An independent website doesn’t grab enough attention on its own. Social media and good old-fashioned networking practices need to play a bigger role. Additionally, some news outlets fill their 24-hour cycle with fluff and entertainment; this is not appropriate for our campus news outlets and should only be done in moderation.
Earlier, I mentioned students being uninformed of many of the amazing resources within our school. This should be a major function of our news media. Since the ‘70s, our information has been dispersed into many different departments. We get update emails from the president, Reslife, student affairs, our department heads, and tons of other sources. It’s a lot for the individual student to digest. The Load laid out schedules, budgets, construction updates, maps and other campus facts in an accessible and convenient way. Perhaps current newspaper staff could sift through these emails for information they find most important for the student body to know about. Having all this information in one place made The Load a sacred tome of Purchase knowledge. Everybody read it, which meant everyone was subject to important articles about protest, elections and important current events as well.
As Purchase expanded, more and more departments were established, which became polarizing to the student body as a whole. The Brick and The Indy need to merge. Having two sets of staff that are passionate about informing the Purchase student body that aren’t working together is a detriment to the cause of each publication. This proposed multimedia publication could also be featured weekly in the update feed of the Purchase College Facebook and a weekly campus-wide email. No more update divisions! Let’s collaborate! While we’re at it, let’s get the journalism program involved. Perhaps a class could be taught around the campus media, similar to “Exhibitions Seminar,” an art history class that teaches students how a museum runs using the Neuberger. This new project would help bridge campus journalism resources together in a similar way. If the groups can work together, they can create a fantastic news source that would help consolidate information and distribute it in a more accessible and productive way. It could also bring pertinent campus information together with current affairs topics, making sure everyone understands what’s happening on campus and around the world. The name might be a little weird, though…”The Independent Brick?” “ The Brindy? “ Perhaps “The Load” would be a fitting title.
Check out the Purchase Load here (more issues added every week):
1. The Load Vol. 1 No. 1 Editorial by Andrew Hugos (assistant editor, later editor-in-chief) entitled “Listen” http://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/handle/1951/52467
2. The Load Vol. 1 No. 1 Editorial by Webb Smedley entitled “Think” http://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/handle/1951/52467
3. The Load Vol. 1 No. 3 Editorial by Theodore J. Fox (editor-in-chief) entitled “Move” http://dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu/handle/1951/52469
4. http://compass-usa.com/Pages/Home.aspx official website