‘The Echo’ is not your cheerleader

Gabriel Benson, Copy Editor

Since 1916, the “Augsburgian” was Augsburg’s annual student yearbook. The “Augsburgian” went out of print in 2010 because the use of social media and technology had essentially replaced most that the “Augsburgian” achieved; everything else was added to the seasonal “Augsburg Now.”

The “Augsburgian,” unlike “The Echo,” was a pat on the back for everyone involved, a celebration of all that had been completed that year. When the “Augsburgian” disbanded, “The Echo” did not take on any of what the “Augsburgian” was — at least it shouldn’t have.

Entering my third year of editing and writing for “The Echo,” I’ve had countless interactions with people or groups who have had complaints that the newspaper is portraying events or people poorly, unfairly, inappropriately or one-sidedly.

To be clear: “The Echo” is not, has never been and never will be your cheerleader.

In an era where the validity of journalism is critiqued and questioned on a daily basis, “The Echo” strives to maintain and conserve journalistic integrity. We’re not just flying by the seats of our pants here; we have criteria of standards and practices that guide who we are and what we print each week.

On a small campus, as it is on a national scale, it is still imperative to remain married to integrity. To imply, or as some have said outright, that “The Echo” is “only a school paper” or “not the “New York Times’” is offensive to me as a writer and to the decades of journalism that “The Echo” has provided since 1898. When I go to sports games, I don’t say to the athletes, “Why do you take this so seriously? This isn’t the Olympics! You’re only D-III!” That would be rude. To imply that “The Echo” should lower our own standards, invalidate our own journalistic integrity, because we are “just” one thing or another goes against the entire foundation of journalism.

There is an old adage in journalism that says, “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want published; everything else is public relations.” So when I hear that somebody is upset with “The Echo,” unless we have made an egregious journalistic error, I tend to think we are doing something right.

This article was originally published in the Nov. 2, 2018 issue.