Statement regarding publication of Christopher Stetson Wilson letter and SGA Executive President Thought piece

To the Emerson Community,

On Wednesday, June 17, The Berkeley Beacon published a letter-to-the-editor from Christopher Stetson Wilson, the administrative associate to the chair of Emerson’s Journalism Department. The letter was in response to a Thought piece published the day before written by SGA Executive President Claire Rodenbush. 

All members of the Emerson College community—be that students, faculty, staff, administrators, parents, alumni, trustees, or friends of the college—are welcome to write opinion pieces and have them published in the campus newspaper of record. Typically, this is done through one of two channels—an op-ed (packaged and branded as a “Thought” piece) or letter-to-the-editor.   

Thought pieces are resonated opinion articles that offer unique and diverse viewpoints on a wide variety of topics to the community. These stories are either formed by a member of The Beacon’s opinion section reaching out to a member of the community whom they believe to be able to articulate a particular opinion or from a member of the community pitching an opinion piece to an opinion editor. Editors then work with writers to further flesh out and articulate their viewpoints. The usual timeline from pitch-to-publication takes anywhere from 1-3 weeks.

The Beacon is engaging in a review of its editing, fact-checking, and publication process for any given opinion piece authored by either a non-staff or staff member slated for publication.

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A letter-to-the-editor, historically the only way readers could get their voices heard, is typically written in response to a piece of content published by the news organization. The Beacon publishes all letters-to-the-editor, only editing them for grammar and clarity. Members of the community can submit letters by emailing letters@BerkeleyBeacon.com. Print publication can not be guaranteed, though all letters will be made available online. If a letter may serve better as a fleshed-out thought piece, an editor may reach out to the writer to further develop the opinion. 

Part of the job of a newspaper is to open its pages up to diverse voices on all sides of the political aisle. In an increasingly polarized world, the ability to engage with multiple opinions on a topic has become exceedingly rare. Social media platforms segment users into rooms of like-minded individuals in ways that are detrimental to society. In the powderkeg of a college campus—where ideas and realities often clash—the need for a public square of dissent is paramount. At Emerson, The Beacon prides itself on maintaining a platform for all viewpoints. We encourage members of the community with opinions on the two pieces of content in question to submit letters or pitch future thought pieces. 

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me at CVanBuskirk@BerkeleyBeacon.com.

Sincerely,

Chris Van Buskirk, Editor-in-Chief

The Berkeley Beacon