From the new Editor-in-Chief of The Tartan
In the brief issue that The Tartan published immediately following The Natrat last April, I wrote that I was still proud to work at this newspaper and with the people in this office. Now, after a semester of restructuring and rebuilding, my faith in this organization has grown twice over. In December I was elected by the staff to become The Tartan's new Editor-in-Chief for the coming calendar year -- but I would not have run for the position had I any doubts about the integrity of the people who work with me.
The Tartan is a new organization. New, and growing. The Tartan Commission Report that was published over the summer of 2004 -- and which we have reproduced here -- helped to reaffirm basic changes that needed to be made, and we have thrown ourselves into addressing them over this past semester. Mark Egerman stood up as a member of the community to become our Executive Officer, and was instrumental in changing our direction as an organization. He has detailed the moves that we have made in his own piece, published in this issue.
Our focus remains, however, on improvements that we must continue to make as your foremost source of printed news on campus. We have just begun to reach out again to the community at large in order to bring new perspectives and ideas to The Tartan, and this effort should be redoubled in the coming semester. Mark Egerman has taken the role of Personnel Manager in order to continue his efforts of staff growth and development, and Kristina Wiltsee continues to be our Ombudsman after defining exactly how the new position should function over the past semester. For those with talent and dedication for personal growth, I am convinced that there is now no better place for students to go to than their own student-run newspaper.
Short-term goals are not enough, though. One of the problems that every student-run organization has to face is that of "organizational memory": as different students cycle through every four years, the composition and mentality of a group can change dramatically. When the right goals and structural behaviors are not passed down, this change can often be for the worse.
We want to address this issue of organizational memory directly. As per suggestions by the commission and discussions within The Tartan's editorial board, this semester we will begin to look into establishing a Board of Directors with participation from the University's administration and faculty, as well as previous editors of The Tartan and general members of the journalistic community. This group will serve not to oversee content or plan organizational decisions, but to ease transitions and maintain a solid organizational memory for years to come. The history of The Tartan cannot be gleaned simply by paging through its archives, and such a board would help create a solid foundation upon which we can build every year.
The last point I will touch upon is addressed directly with the letter of intent that you see printed on the front page. Every journalistic outlet should have a set of guidelines that aid its writing and practices. This list is the beginning of that renewed commitment. In the coming months, we will use training sessions to reaffirm these points with our staff; and we will also bring professional journalists from the Pittsburgh area into the office on a bi-weekly basis.
I'm confident that The Tartan is growing once again to assume its role as a cornerstone of this campus community. We are a source that strives to serve you with the most interesting and relevant information possible. And we are a source that you can trust. On a personal level, this is truly an achievement; but as an organization, it's monumental. And it's about time.