Senior Column- Ray Smith


There are many reasons why people decide to join a club on campus. My reason for joining The Campus was simple: if I was going to be the next Bill Simmons, I’d have to write for my college paper. However, from the day I was that little ambitious freshman to today, the worn out senior who is counting down the final days to potential unemployment, I’ve gone through a lot.

The Campus has taught me about the importance of journalism. As you (better have) read in my story on page one, journalism is changing.

However, there are still core values of journalism that should be present throughout whatever transformation lies ahead, even on a campus like ours.

The job of this newspaper is to inform our readers, provide a little entertainment and also act as a watchdog to our small, mostly error–free college. I think I’ve been able to do that over the last few years on a micro level, and hope to one day do this on a macro level for a large city newspaper.

The jobs of reporter, columnist, assistant sports editor and news editor introduced me to hundreds of people on campus.

I’d like to thank all of those people who sat through sometimes awkward and what seemed like tedious interviews with me: the athletes, the students who had things stolen from them, ASG members, administrators and the other students who make up this campus.

I’d also like to shout out to all the people who ever came up to me on campus, at a party, at the bar, wherever, and said “Nice article this week” or “Good story.” What we do on the third floor of the Campus Center is sit in front of outdated computers which usually freeze every thirty minutes and print our little stories.

At first, I had no idea people even read The Campus. I used to think of Campus readers as a niche audience, similar to political fanatics. A few people love it, but everybody else hates when you talk to them about it. As it turns out, we do have readers, and for that, I’m thankful.

While Allegheny may not have the most prestigious journalism program, there are dedicated individuals on this campus who believe it is important and are trying to improve the program.

Associate Dean Ben Slote, who has been leading a revitalization of the journalism program, comes to mind. If you don’t know this man, get to know him. He’s one of the people that make Allegheny great.

There are some things that I wish I would have investigated more and I hope that The Campus does a story on these in the future. Excuse my ranting for a moment. I’ve always wanted to do a story about the wheelchair accessibility of Allegheny’s campus. If the world’s best future economist wanted to come to Allegheny but was in a wheelchair, he or she would fail all of his or her classes because they would be impossible for him or her to attend.

Also, I was unhappy with the way the Coach Clune incident played out. By not stating reasons for firing the coach after one of his most successful years, this has led to wild speculation and the spreading of rumors of why the coach was fired. I doubt that the reason he was fired was more explosive than the worst rumors, and that’s not being fair to him.

For all of those people who are considering joining the newspaper, go for it. You will meet hundreds of people on campus and beyond and will also be filled with the most useless information, like how much it would cost to book Girl Talk or Sean Kingston ($25,000) or how many disciplinary referrals there were at Allegheny’s security office in 2008 (253).

You’ll also get to realize that Allegheny isn’t such a bad place. There are a lot of people doing great things on this campus. Beyond that, you’ll have something to talk about on job interviews. The newspaper enhances your writing skills and can even lead to a management position like news editor, which is interview gold (now that I think about it, I still have no employment plans for after graduation, so maybe it’s more silver than gold).

Finally, I’d like to thank all of the Class of 2010 editors that I have spent Mondays and Wednesdays with for the last two years. We were dropped into leadership positions without a clue of what to do.

Two years later, I think we nudged the newspaper in the right direction. Good luck to all future Campus writers. If you ever need anything, please feel free to get in touch.