I have been involved with Varsity since my first year at UCT. I have gone from being a writer all the way to holding my current position of Editor-in-Chief. During this time I have seen how each Collective brings something new to the newspaper and the different styles with which we approach the tasks ahead of us.
While I remain proud of my work and stand by everything I’ve done, articles within the newspaper have not always been well received. I have received numerous messages criticising articles I wrote and the way in which I wrote them. So this week I decided to take the opportunity and use my column to thank everyone who has ever sent me a message regarding something I wrote or chose to publish.
I genuinely appreciate receiving your feedback; it makes me excited because you’ve chosen to take the time to read our newspaper. Whether you’ve read the entire newspaper, or just one article that caught your eye, you are the reason we do this. You are the reason that we work tirelessly in order to produce a newspaper every two weeks. You are why we continue to push boundaries and challenge ourselves to publish relevant content in a new and interesting way.
When you engage with our content – either in person, via e-mail, or in a letter to the editor – it means all the late nights editing and hours spent in interviews were worth it, because we have managed to provide you with something to engage with. Your feedback, positive or negative, helps to point us in the right direction. It lets us know what content is working and where we need to improve.
We strive to expose you to new perspectives and show you different ways of thinking. We aim to have multiple sources all with their own points of view and we want our content to be as diverse as possible. Sometimes we manage to do so, but sometimes we are unsuccessful in our endeavours.
The people you see represented in our newspaper are the people who engage with us. The voices you see within the articles we publish are included because they are what is available to us. We all have our own opinions, whether you’re vocal about yours or not. One of the biggest challenges in producing a newspaper is ensuring that everyone’s voice can be heard; it’s ensuring that our content is representative of the entire student body.
However, it is not enough for us to want content that represents you as students. If you read our newspaper and find that your voice and your point of view are not represented, then write for us. We cannot expect someone else to speak on our behalf, it is up to us to represent ourselves.
Varsity has an editorial team of 31 people, but there are over 26 000 students enrolled at UCT. You cannot expect us to represent you. You need to represent yourself. Otherwise, the content and dominant voices in the media will never change.