In regard to Matt Brown’s letter to the editor, we appreciate the concern regarding the quality of our writing. We, too, worry about how to best perform our duties as writers and editors representing this university,
In fact, we invite all concerned readers to contribute to making The Northern Light the best newspaper it can be by submitting letters to the editor, opinion pieces and informing staffers of news events throughout the campus.
As a quick point of interest, however, there were several inaccuracies within Brown’s letter that TNL staffers would like to clarify.
TNL staffers do have economics professors look over statistics from time to time. An economics professor was consulted for the recent story concerning sequestration, though it was not reported in the article. It is also common practice for people to peer edit and check the math for each other’s stories prior to print. Any errors should be reported to The Northern Light as soon as possible and a correction will be made either in print or online.
Also, the letter questions whether or not TNL staffers are students. Yes, this is an entirely student run newspaper. All staffers, volunteers and contributors must be enrolled in at least six credit hours and have a minimum GPA of 2.0 And there are higher GPA requirements for upper-level positions.
Sept. 4, we ran a piece on the proposed tuition increase. The story in question is an “op-ed” piece, meaning that it expressed the opinion of the staff. We fully welcome anyone’s right to disagree with us; you’ll find that, as journalists, we’re pretty big on that “freedom of speech” thing. However, the op-ed contained additional information not included in the previous story.
It was our hope that by comparing UAA to its peers and listing the recent salaries and major expenses our university, that we could offer students a more complete picture of our financial situation. The question was then, and remains now, “How can this university claim to not have enough funds when it can shell out the funding for a new sports complex and continue to pay its administration such fat salaries.” There are some who would reply that the sports complex center is a complete necessity to this university and there are others who would say the administration deserves those large salaries. They are welcome to their opinions, but so are we.
In response to the complaints about the Permanent Fund Dividend story there seems to be confusion about what this piece is supposed to be. It is considered a public opinion piece. If one reads it, they will find that the story features interviewed students who were happy or unhappy with the announcement. Though we fully understand the process in which the PFD is calculated (it’s included in the story), our focus was on public perception of the announcement.
We were also disturbed by the claim that staffers view Barack Obama as some sort of personal hero. The Northern Light rarely covers national news (unless we can localize it) and the last time there was any coverage on a national topic it was in opinion pieces penned by Shana Roberson, a occasional contributor for The Northern Light.
And both of those articles, one published July 24 and the other Aug.7, were critical of the president.
That does not mean that TNL staffers are right-wingers either, though. It just means that the person who wrote those articles felt that particular way about that particular topic.
Finally, to address the suggestion to introduce a new mandatory course entitled “Economics for Everyday Life.” While that idea sounds fantastic, we will be a bit biased in piggy backing on it and suggesting all students complete a Reporting 1 class before graduating. It is probably true that every person, in every major would be able to suggest a course they believe everyone should take. Brown proves to not be an exception and we accept that,
We thank all readers for critiques of the newspaper and we appreciate the support of our loyal readers.
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