Shift + Alt + media

Call me a pessimist, but I was surprised when the Journal and CFRC’s mandatory fee increases passed at the AMS Annual General Meeting Tuesday night.

This campus’s recent history has shown students appear to have an inexplicable hate-on for media.

Diatribe, Lighthouse Wire, Konekt and Ultraviolet magazines all lost their opt-outable—that means it’s optional to pay—fees in two AMS referendums this year. In the past, Empress Magazine’s fee has been resoundingly rejected. But the Queen’s Students for Literacy fee passed with 70 per cent of the vote.

Do you see a discrepancy here?

I work at the most visible source of campus news at Queen’s but, frankly, I’m tired of the Journal’s monopoly on news reporting.

The short-lived but well-intentioned blog fthejournal.wordpress.com caught my attention earlier this year, at first with its misnomer but later with its manifesto points.

Despite feeling misrepresented by many of its claims, I think the bloggers made some good points.

A single news source won’t capture all the issues or cover all of the events that take place on campus because, let’s face it, it’s overworked and underfunded.

That’s different from saying the Journal’s not doing a good job with the limited resources it has. But alternative news sources need to step it up and fill in the gaps.

This campus needs magazines, perhaps another newspaper, blogs, stronger radio and TV programs to create multiple outlets for student expression.

I read about mature women students’ experiences on campus and reports being compiled by the University on this topic through the arts magazine Queen’s Feminist Review last week. Humour newspaper Golden Words broke a story about misplaced AMS employee T4 forms last year. I’ve read Ultraviolet and Syndicus to get a feel for issues students are interested in.

These media are informative, educational and engaging. They form a necessary counterpart to the Journal but, ideally, exist as more than just opposition to it—despite what fthejournal would have you believe.

In an ideal situation, the growing number and strength of alternative publications would eventually break the mainstream-alternative divide and each publication would become a primary news source to students. The publications would keep each other in check, share news tips (or not), offer competing perspectives and bring up topics they felt other publications were ignoring.

Here’s a wild idea: having enough resources to have multiple media reporting on the same event. Boisterous media scrum, anyone? If we want a critical, engaged student body, we need to put our money where our mouth is.

Queen’s has a solid base of alternative media but many of these news outlets have lost a significant portion of their funding because their opt-outable fees didn’t pass. These publications can go online—some have—but a print edition on campus creating a physical presence shouldn’t be underestimated.

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