This week, a group of eager BYU students debuted the first edition of the Student Review, an alternative newspaper for the campus community. Of course, as a longtime employee of The Daily Universe, I had some personal interest in what type of publication the Student Review would turn out to be.
Because it is an official part of the campus curriculum, the Universe does have some limitations. There is still some confusion between the Brimhall Building and the Smoot Building as to the primary purpose of the Universe, but the administrative oversight isn’t burdensome as some might think.
The Daily Universe has published plenty of deep, serious, investigative articles, even some that could spark some controversial discussions. We tell the stories of immigration, same-sex marriage, political campaigns — heck, last week we boldly called BYU football plain vanilla and embarrassing.
Our newspaper is not a platform for students who have a bone to pick with their university or some other authority figure, like most campus newspapers across the country. The Universe is built on a foundation of competent professionals, and our seriousness and maturity has helped us fill a display case full of awards. Anyone who takes the time to notice will know The Daily Universe is more than just the Police Beat.
So, when I heard an alternative newspaper was trying its luck, I was worried it would have an agenda and rally others to its cause. I thought it might try so hard to push the envelope and “stick it to the man” it might compromise good journalism standards.
Basically, I was concerned it would be the newspaper we and the administration are trying to prevent.
But when I picked up the inaugural issue on Monday and read it from cover to cover, I was very impressed.
The Student Review is ambitious yet simple, professional yet informal. From campus clubs to Arizona politics, sex therapy and the Freemasons, there’s a lot of great information for anyone interested in the world around them (which I hope would be anyone at BYU). It treated those subjects with respect and without aiming for shock value.
In fact, what struck me was there isn’t much that would keep these stories from being included in The Daily Universe. True, we would not publish some of them, but not because they are inappropriate or seditious. Some material is simply more suited to a magazine than to a newspaper, and there is certainly a place for all of the Student Review’s material. Just because that place isn’t The Daily Universe doesn’t mean that material is worthless.
The article on the lack of a “BYU Men’s Services” could have easily been a sarcastic tirade, but by interviewing Valerie Hudson, an internationally renowned BYU professor and expert on women’s issues, the article had much more to say.
I liked the Student Review’s attitude that Provo is, contrary to popular belief, a great town with a lot to do.
And there needs to be more points of view like Shereen Emara Salah’s spread around the world.
The only thing that bothered me was the Student Review’s introduction implying the Universe excludes articles written by anyone other than communications students. If that’s the word on the street, I hope that misunderstanding is cleared up soon.
Even though the Universe is a lab newspaper and is part of the curriculum, we don’t turn away articles just because they didn’t originate in “our little club.” We have actively recruited incoming students to participate in the paper’s “cub reporter desk,” and welcome stories and letters from any aspiring reporter or anyone with something to say.
I can come up with a longer list of discrepancies between the two papers. But it wouldn’t be a list of flaws, just differences.
I wish the founders of the Student Review only the best of luck.