It’s your paper

It’s your paper


On behalf of the editors and staff of the Vanguard, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all students, faculty, and administration at Portland State.


It may seem obvious, but the paper you’re reading is a student-run publication. That means we, the students, call all the shots.


Under the leadership of our editorial staff, this paper represents freedom, and in a time where freedom of the press is increasingly threatened by censorship, I intend to take that freedom seriously.


Five years ago I worked for a daily paper in northwest Arkansas. One of my assignments was the education beat where I soon encountered a young woman who was salutatorian of her high school class. During a school-sponsored spring break and under the supervision of a faculty member, the young woman had her eyebrow pierced. In Portland eyebrow piercings are commonplace. In Fort Smith, Ark., it’s the work of the devil. 


The young woman was expelled from school just weeks before graduation. The school board demanded she remove the eyebrow ring in order to graduate with the rest of her class. I covered this story closely hoping to remain objective, but I found myself torn between objectivity and advocacy.


Eventually the girl removed the eyebrow ring and graduated from high school, but before the story was resolved the city editor pulled me off the story. To this day I am unsure if this editorial decision was made because the story wasn’t newsworthy or because of the tempers my coverage inflamed in the community.


This anecdote may seem insignificant, but it happened, and as a journalist, it meant something to me. Through this experience I learned first hand that our government is not the only engine that powers censorship.


What you’ll find here in the Vanguard opinion section is wholly uncensored and ideally, the issues explored here will mean something to you whether you are a student, faculty member, or administrator of this institution.


Vanguard writers and editors are granted a unique opportunity and the explicit freedom to cover events and issues that impact our community and beyond. By reading the news, sports, and arts and culture sections of the paper you should obtain all the news you can use. Just in case you don’t, that’s where the opinion section comes in. 


The opinion section is a place where staff writers can sound off on local, national and global issues that affect our community, but it is also a forum for all of you.


As opinion editor I would like to extend an open invitation to you to share your thoughts and opinions left, right, or anywhere in between. This medium can and should be used as a forum for discourse. Through guest columns, editorials, and letters to the editor, you have an opportunity to participate in that discourse.


If you have something to say, send us a letter or an e-mail. We’ll print almost anything as a letter to the editor as long as it is factually accurate and 300 words or fewer. If you want more space, inquiries about guest opinion columns (usually about 500-750 words) can be sent to [email protected].


It’s your paper, and we want to hear from you.