News

Executive Privilege

Hidden in an inconspicuous file cabinet on the third floor of Hunt Library, microfiche images of past issues of The Tartan compose the only consistent historical record of the student experience at Carnegie Mellon University. In the ?20s and ?30s, The Tartan recorded the history of Carnival; in the early ?40s, The Tartan reflected students? perception of World War II; and in the late ?60s The Tartan?s opinion pages presented students? demands for a more diverse community. For nearly 100 years, The Tartan has worked tirelessly to serve the students of our University.
Halfway through a one-year term as the Executive Officer of The Tartan, I understand that building The Tartan into a strong, trusted, and entertaining student news source will be a challenge. We have a number of significant barriers. We are working to overcome The Tartan?s recently rocky history ? in our own minds and in the public perception. We are pushing to restore the organization?s financial health. And all the while we must wrangle with the fact that newspaper readership is declining nationwide.
The Tartan will confront these challenges directly, energetically, and creatively. We are already taking the right steps.
This issue marks one academic year of consistent publishing. This may seem a small feat, to some, and it is an accomplishment our community should expect from us. But its importance cannot be understated. In the past year, The Tartan has covered the Gates donation, the Shabazz affair, the RIAA lawsuits, and many other events and issues that are important to students and the University. We have emphasized fair and accurate coverage, and Editor-in-Chief J.T. Trollman and I have received consistent feedback confirming that our coverage is ever improving. This is a step in the right direction, and we must continue to develop our coverage?s scope and ensure its fairness and accuracy.
To rebuild the financial stability of The Tartan, we have reestablished a full business department. With less than a third of The Tartan?s budget provided by the student activities fee, this newspaper cannot succeed without a business model. The new department, which includes an advertising staff and business staff, will develop The
Tartan?s relationships with businesses in our community and continue to foster relationships with our national customers. A strong financial position will enable The Tartan to better train, equip, and pay its staff.
To contend with waning newspaper readership nationwide, The Tartan is working to make the newspaper more dynamic and usable both in print and online. To put the newspaper?s look and feel in the hands of creative designers, we have implemented a new, talented layout staff. Also, we have brought The Tartan back online ? and while it is still developing, we are working to make our website into a usable and useful resource.
Sixty-three people worked on staff when we published this year?s first issue of The Tartan in August. The Tartan?s staff is now double that size, and the majority of our staff is young. We will return in the fall with a full staff, and we will be ready to welcome even more passionate writers,
designers, business representatives, photographers, and artists.
The Tartan?s strong reemergence this year gives me great hope. To The Tartan?s staff: You have devoted yourselves to informing Carnegie Mellon students of the important issues on and off campus. Thank you for your dedication. To everyone who gave encouragement and assistance to The Tartan: I thank you for your support. To the community at large, continue to hold your standards and expectations high: We will meet them.