An Editorial Worth its Weight: Seeking MSU student, faculty for new editorial board

Take a glance at the column above, and you will notice a weekly article labelled “Staff Editorial.” You may also notice the article is printed without a traditional byline. What’s with that?

If my conversations with friends and classmates are any indication, many of our readers don’t know what the “editorial” really means, why its byline is unsigned or why they should pay attention to it. And when they do read the editorial, readers and even staff members often say they find the topics uninteresting and the conversation abstruse.

While editorials — like all of our content — often won’t appeal to our entire readership, we recognize we should do more to make these columns accessible and effective.

If done well, the editorial forum provides a mechanism by which we can nurture conversations  that in turn lead to change on our campus. Its potential value arises from our ability, as a group of engaged MSU student-journalists, to serve as an independent incubator of careful and critical thought about our university.

To accomplish that, we’ve decided to form an editorial board whose members will meet regularly to discuss, research and pen the Exponent’s weekly editorials.

Editorial boards are common at professional newspapers, but we’re hoping to establish a model that reflects our organization’s culture and values as a student-run publication. Our top goals: community input, in-depth research and solution-oriented perspectives.

In order to widen the spectrum of editorial topics and perspectives, we are creating space on our editorial board for one student and one faculty member, who will participate in all aspects of the Exponent’s editorial process. We will also hold a public comment period at the beginning of each meeting for community members to offer topics and perspectives. Additionally, board members will strive to reach out to student and administrative decision-makers involved in the issues upon which we editorialize.

Our editorials will represent the consensus opinion of the Exponent editorial board and will be designated as the paper’s official position on published topics. They will not, however, necessarily represent the opinion of every member of the Exponent staff.

By establishing a process for community input, long-term planning, thorough research and group deliberation, we hope to ensure our editorials will be worth their symbolic weight. For more details, read the full editorial board policy at www.msuexponent.com/editorial.

First meeting: Thurs, Oct. 11, with public comment from 5:30-5:45 p.m. in SUB 366

Interested in joining the board? Contact: editor@exponent.montana.edu or call 994-2224.