At issue: Our fall 2018 semester
Our take: We’re proud of our advancements, and we strive to do better.
Last semester, we tried something new. For the first time,The Berkeley Beacon restructured from weekly print editions to a digital-first, daily publication. We experimented with staff positions and roles, the layout of our website, content rollout, and more. Yet, this semester we were no longer the guinea pigs for this unfamiliar but still fresh configuration. As this is our final print issue for this semester, we have officially completed our first non-transitional period with this new way of things, and we like to think we did so successfully.
For one, the scope of reporting and coverage broadened throughout the sections, from news to living arts, to sports, to opinion, and even to editorial. We posted content almost daily, working through days off and a Red Sox parade in timely, efficient, and professional manners. We had over 10 people produce special coverage with a temporary website homepage dedicated for breaking news, live updates, and a Facebook Live recording during a student-led protest at City Hall when Sen. Jeff Flake spoke. We began what we hope will be a weekly podcast and allotted positions on our masthead to aid this process.
In addition to expanding our multimedia, we continued to develop coverage in all our sections. Our news team started the semester with covering breaking news about the late professor Rob Todd who was found responsible for sexual harassment. We held the administration accountable, and we were consistent with writing follow-up articles on larger projects and issues, like 172 Tremont and the Title IX office. And we also covered stories that made national headlines and impacted our community, for example, the wildfires in California and the shootings in Pittsburgh and Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Students at Emerson have an entrepreneurial spirit and the living arts section featured several student businesses and also attended and covered more student events. Additionally, the columns in living arts gave students a platform to talk about issues they care about on a regular basis.
In our opinion section, we debuted our international student column. Our columnists covered topics such as language barriers, cultural conformity, and civic duty. We’re grateful not only for the success of this column, but also for the voices of international students on campus. We hope international students continue to speak up about important issues they face here at Emerson.
Our sports section, now with a full staff, covered a diverse array of stories outside of game coverage. The section wrote about the successes of alumni in sports broadcasting, our cheerleading team, and the historic playoff season of our women’s soccer team.
This semester the Beacon staff, led by an editor-in-chief identifying as a woman of color, is majority women with four out of five section editors identifying as female. Since the fall 2018 semester, incoming students are 63 percent female according to the college website. Because the college-wide percentage is not far from this figure, gender representation is vital. So the Beacon accurately reflects Emerson’s demographic. Unfortunately, we lack the same level of racial and ethnic diversity, but we have improved significantly from past years and want to continue to improve.
For next semester, the Beacon aims to continue being a daily newspaper. We also hope to expand our multimedia efforts by releasing more videos and weekly podcasts.
The newspaper strives to increase the quantity and quality of content by producing even more stories and covering those affecting our community.