The Colgate Scene
November 2003

From the editor
A little context




We want to tell good,
interesting, and fair
stories ..."

President Harry Truman was supposedly fond of saying, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen." For editors, the equivalent expression might be, "If you don't want to be second-guessed, find another line of work."

Editors who enjoy this type of work as much as I do eventually realize that being second-guessed or criticized is as necessary to your success as rainfall is to a farmer's crop yield. They understand that receiving several critical letters is preferable to not receiving any letters at all. I don't wish to imply that most of the feedback we receive is negative, because that's certainly not the case. During my first year and a half as editor of the Scene, one of the things that has been ever constant is the extent to which the loyalty, affection, and passion that alumni, faculty, students, and staff feel for Colgate is reflected in the letters they send us. Their comments, whether it's praise or criticism, are vital to this publication's success and ongoing development.

One of my counterparts at another liberal arts institution once told her readers, "Alumni [publications] are often entertaining, but collectively our missions revolve more about informing, educating, and fostering pride in our universities. We want to tell good, interesting, and fair stories -- and rarely lack ideas since so many people inside and outside the university provide us with a constant stream of article suggestions -- but the definitions of good, fair, and interesting are subjective at best, offensive and alienating at worst."

That description applies to my experience in the Chenango Valley as well. We always have far more ideas and suggestions for stories than we'll ever have room to publish. This gives us a treasure trove of riches to draw from in conveying the dazzling breadth and depth of pursuits by members of the Colgate community.

In addition, there are many contentious issues within higher education in general, and at Colgate in particular, that will need to be addressed through the Scene from time to time. Likewise, there are similar issues in the world at large where Colgate alumni, faculty, and students are making their presence felt as researchers, activists, journalists, lawyers, physicians, entrepreneurs, or observers that will be addressed as well.

As Scene editor, I'm responsible for decisions regarding editorial content, photos, letters, and countless smaller matters that crop up each day. Decisions have to be made in order to keep things moving, and inevitably, some of those choices may well make someone unhappy. We acknowledge that these kinds

of decisions may be subjective, but please know that they are not made arbitrarily. My colleagues and I attempt to provide balanced coverage of students, alumni, faculty, and staff, and to fairly and accurately present the vitality and diversity within the Colgate community. It's challenging, and on occasion, difficult. But it's also rewarding and often a heck of a lot of fun. In any event, I'm certain I'll be hearing from you, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


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