By Harrison Neville
One of the hardest parts of being a writer for The Alabamian is not knowing how your work is being received. It can be easy, when we aren’t hearing feedback from anyone outside of the staff, to fall into the trap of not considering our readers desires and only focusing coverage on things that interest ourselves.
But The Alabamian is not just about me, nor is it just about my staff.
Obviously, we are a key part of it, and it could not exist without our efforts, but The Alabamian is something that goes beyond us. It is something that belongs to a community, not to a handful of sleep deprived college students.
Recently, I received an email from a student who appreciated our content and wanted to request that we look to publish more lifestyles content. I do not have permission from them to publish what they said, but my response to them was to explain that “while we do not cater solely to the desires of our readers, an important part of our mission is to provide content that they find relevant.”
As I told them, part of being an independent newspaper is making sure that we are avoiding allowing ourselves to be influenced by outside sources, so that readers know we are remaining unbiased. That said, we want to provide you with content that you want to read, particularly in our lifestyles section. We want our news articles to be relevant to our readers, and when it comes to things like album and book reviews, we try our best to fit the interest of our readers.
This is why I want to encourage you as readers to reach out and tell us what you think of our coverage, even if it just to tell us that we did something you disliked. I won’t promise that we will always respond in the way that you want us to, but I can guarantee that we will always do our best to listen to your voices.
Myself and the rest of The Alabamian staff are the stewards of this paper. We produce and care for it, but The Alabamian belongs to all of us, both readers and creators.
One of my goals as editor in chief this year is to foster a healthy community among the readers and writers of the paper. Of course, there will always be boundaries within that relationship, but those boundaries will not prevent us from coming together to stay informed and share our various passions. I encourage everyone to take an active role in engaging with the paper, be it through email, social media or just swinging by to chat.
For those of you who would like to get more involved and not only act as readers, but contribute content as well, please reach out. Shoot an email to The Alabamian at email@example.com or just walk into a meeting on Monday at 5 p.m. in the Farmer meeting room. However you want to get involved we’ll always be glad to hear from you.