The Natrat reviews: The Tartan

As we near the week of Carnegie Mellon's Spring Carnival, the community takes time to reflect on the year behind us and the home stretch ahead. For staff members of The Tartan, that means reviewing the important work we do every week, assessing the integrity of our journalism, and applauding the impact we have on the campus community every day.

Staffwriter Orchid Stra provided some comments on her work with The Tartan so far: “There really is nothing like the feeling of working hard, through all my assignments for class and other obligations, to create a story that I know will be well-loved and edited by my peers on the staff. They are my biggest supporters.”

Section Editor Matt Alex echoed this sentiment. “It’s so wonderful to be able to know exactly how people feel about what we publish — we all read each other’s pieces and give feedback. Since the staff are actually the only readers of the paper, it works out great! We arrange and write good articles, and then we enjoy reading and editing them together,” they said, adding, “Although I will say that sometimes not all of us can read everything we publish, even in our own sections.”

Staff members agree — the best part of our week is publishing our paper and hearing no feedback at all from the campus community. Personally it brought me much joy to hear from fellow staff member Zach Chick that he is the only one who listens to the playlists I lovingly curate every few weeks. Editor Noah Skuses says, “Sometimes I think maybe one of my friends will read the stuff I write, just to see what I’m staying up late working on, but they never do. Personally, I love that. It’s so quiet. It almost feels like we could write anything — a poem that’s actually an album review, a character analysis of a play most people have not heard of, even an entire issue that’s a big joke! It would be lots of fun to read with the staff, and I wouldn’t have to hear anything about it from my peers. I could just enjoy a nice, serene week as I work on next week’s articles.”

“Actually, I do get some feedback from people I talk to,” adds Zach Chick, “Usually it's like, ‘We have a newspaper?’ or ‘Oh, you write? That’s so cool! Hey, would you mind looking at my Interp essay later — only if you have time obviously.’”

It’s not true, however, that the campus has no interaction with the newspaper whatsoever. Actually, The Tartan serves a whole host of significant purposes. It makes sure the other newspapers on stands around campus don’t get lonely, helping to support the idea that the obligatory $5 media fee is something we all benefit from. They provide collage fodder for zealous scrapbookers and art students making vision boards. Most importantly, though, they facilitate some of the most important work of the year: the painting of Booths for Carnival.

In fact, it could be said that Carnival wouldn’t be possible without The Tartan, whose pages proudly line the workspaces of Booth makers and painters from the Greek Quad to the Hill. It is during this time of the year, and for this reason that we most appreciate The Tartan.

After naming five brothers, a Tartan insider was able to reach one of the student organizations working to build a Booth for this year’s Carnival.

“Yo, are you the bagpipe people? That’s hella cool,” said one member, “Y’all get lit? Bro, could you pass the purple paint over here?”

Judging by the well-loved nature of the hundreds of pages of The Tartan scattered across the floor of the space, it’s clear that our work is greatly appreciated by this organization, and anyone needing some spare paper. After all, who is a newspaper made for if not the community?