March 15, 2005

The Exblownent

Baldwin-Wallace College has a plethora of talent within her halls of academic erudition. From political science majors assiduously working away at the Malicky Center for Social Sciences to the understudies of the theater department rehearsing for the next one-act in Kleist, it can easily be asserted that there is a highly proficient student body at this school of liberal arts. However, it seems that there is one weak spot, one kink in BW's armor, and it flourishes in a certain forum. The college newspaper, The Exponent, is filled with articles pertaining to student life, Greek Life, Student Government, entertainment, sports, and other topics of interest to a student body. The Exponent is student-run, all of the editors, writers (save for the occasional editorial from a professor), and managers are undergraduate students at Baldwin-Wallace, which gives it a great deal of independence from administrative oversight and censorship.

This kink is a problem that seems endemic with most college students recently: the inability to write well or even so far as to write in reporting form. This problem manifests itself on the pages on The Exponent. Front page stories provide wonderful editorializing insights as to how the author feels on a certain matter, although most people wouldn't recognize it as such, as the content of the editorialization is rarely negative. A recent example of the editorializing that occurred in a recent issue of The Exponent was written as follows (on the band 'Return of Simple'), "They had an awesome piano part, and sounded good all together. My favorite part was when they covered Ben Folds Five; they did an awesome job!" Apart from the brazenly simplistic writing of the author, who shall not be named, there was a tremendous amount of editorializing taking place. "My favorite part..." "They had an awesome piano part..." "They did an awesome job." All three of those comments lend to the reader the idea that the author really likes the band, but it doesn't say who the members of Return of Simple are, which Ben Folds Five song was covered or even what made the performance so "awesome".

How does this type of writing affect Baldwin-Wallace College? Many students attending the school believe that there is no truly viable student newspaper on campus, even with the renegade Maelstrom, which was started two years ago as an artistic and editorial sheet. Many students lack the time to be able to provide to The Exponent, so it should be incumbent upon the writers at the paper to furnish the best product to the students that can be done. How can this improvement be done? BW offers a rudimentary Intro to Journalism class, ENG-132, and requiring staff writers and editors to have taken this course may help alleviate problems with poor journalistic skills.

These are just thoughts and certainly nothing more than my opinions, musings, and ramblings. I don't believe that I speak on behalf of the entire student body when asserting these claims, but I do know that there are people who feel similarly. And for sure: it's nothing more than my point of view.


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