Letter to the Editor from a former Beacon editor-in-chief

By Cyra Master

To the editor:

I am writing to join the growing chorus of voices disappointed with this week’s decision to dramatically change the SGA constitution and removed the guarantee of funding for The Berkeley Beacon.

As a former Beacon editor, I am compelled to voice my support for an organization that shaped me as a journalist and as a member of the Emerson community. I understand that this matter was put in the hands of the students, but I find the sudden decision to alter the way the Beacon has operated for the past 20 years disturbing. The Beacon and the SGA have always had a rocky relationship and this change shifts the balance of power in an unfair and possibly dangerous way.

The Beacon is not just a learning tool; it is a check on the powers of the school. The guarantee of funding is also a guarantee that the school’s free press remains unrestrained by the whims and personalities of a constantly changing student government.

I saw the Beacon through some of its best and most challenging times. I was a managing editor in 2004 when my classmate, Victoria Snelgrove, was shot and killed by Boston Police. As the Beacon’s primary reporter of that story, I witnessed the power the paper had to bring Emersonians together. In 2006, I was at the helm when we reprinted a controversial editorial cartoon, a decision that divided the campus. There were threats to our funding then, but members of the administration, faculty and other students stood up for the Beacon. I hope they will do the same now. The one thing that was clear in both situations was the importance of this newspaper to the Emerson community at large, and its student journalists in particular.

The paper, the SGA and the administration need to work together with the student body to find a solution that supports the mission of the Berkeley Beacon and the Emersonians it represents and educates.

Cyra Master
Class of 2006
Copy editor, Roll Call newspaper
The Berkeley Beacon editor-in-chief, 2006