Wednesday, May 04, 2005

05/05/05

For lack of better material at the moment (I'm working on it, I promise!), here's a letter I intend to send to The Vermilion for its first summer issue.

As a longtime contributor to The Vermilion (100 consecutive issues with this letter!), I have seen several editorships and layouts come and go. I’m not afraid to say that, at many points in the past few years, I was very unhappy with the quality of the paper. Fortunately, The Vermilion has rebounded well as of late, a trend that I hope will continue in the coming semesters. With that in mind, here are some issues that I hope you will address in making this into the best Wednesday newspaper in Lafayette:

1) Correcting careless spelling mistakes. Over the past year I’ve seen everything from the use of “parody” for “parity,” to the misspelling of “journalism.” How can any newspaper misspell “journalism?” You might as well misspell “newspaper” while you’re at it! Or “spell,” for that matter.

2) A cleaner format. A lot of The Vermilion looks as if it were cobbled together at the last minute. On the other hand, some of it looks really fine-tuned. Wouldn’t it be great to have the whole newspaper look as good as its best parts?

3) More consistent color. I know you need to have certain color page combinations to print some ads and comic strips correctly, but can’t you standardize that somehow?

4) If something offends a large bloc of the student body, such as the name “Handicap Diaries,” perhaps that name should be reconsidered. “We’ll finish with it because we started with it” is not the strongest argument.

5) Everyone involved with The Vermilion should have their name in the masthead. In my staff-writer days, seeing my name with all the others made me feel like an important member of a community. As it is, the space is larger than it used to be, and should now accommodate the names of all editors, writers, photographers, designers, businesspeople and circulation staff. People ask me all the time who does certain comic strip, for example; why not provide them with a complete list? It’s only fair.

6) Finally, do we REALLY need the “at Lafayette” attached to every single UL reference? Does anyone really think we’re talking about UL Monroe in The Vermilion? Those words add up on the page and really add nothing. But mainly, I object to it because it seems like an attempt to appease authority, which is something a student-run paper should never have to do.

I can’t wait to see how this newspaper evolves in the upcoming months. I am, and always will be, a fan of this publication. In time, I hope that The Vermilion becomes the kind of publication that presidents will hoist over their heads. And not because of headline errors like “Dewey defeats Truman,” but because The Vermilion is an information and entertainment source of which we can all be proud.

Ian McGibboney
UL graduate, 2002 and 2005

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