Not to long ago, I was witness to a union — not between two businesses or people, but between two student publications.
It was a Friday night when the engagement happened. I stumbled upon it after one of the editors had came into the Manitoban office explaining to me that I was invited.
The two publications were the Maelstrom, the Arts Student Body Council student publication, and the Chesterfield, the school of fine arts student publication, so of course I was interested. I had known about the Maelstrom for a while now, and the Chesterfield was a new publication on campus, but all-in-all I thought it would be an awesome experience to spend some time with these young artists and journalists.
I was right.
I had never met any other student journalists or reporters at the U of M outside of the Manitoban and because of this I was eager.
Right away I could tell that the Maelstrom was a much smaller news organization than the Manitoban, as the offices were small in size and tucked away in the arts student lounge.
The office was filled with about six students, all of them contributors the magazines and all of them on the defensive — or so it seemed — at the sight of my note pad. I’m not sure what made put them off, or if I put them off at all, all I know is ten minutes after I arrived, almost all of the contributors had taken off.
I laughed it off, apologizing for scaring them off — if that is in fact what I did — but the editor of the Maelstrom ensured me they all just had to go and the timing was just coincidental. After this, they poured me a glass of red wine to celebrate the engagement and we started talking about the media and other randomness.
After a few minutes, I realized that the Maelstrom was nothing like the Toban. They seemed to have a lot more room to move around, as the medium of the magazine is not like that of the newspaper. While my career has been based on research and interviews, they seems to wander into the abyss of student life in ways that I could never do at the Manitoban.
After a few glasses of wine, all of us moved from the arts lounge to Degrees, where I ordered us a massive plate of poutine and the bunch of us enjoyed downing a few cold pints.
We discussed journalism further, and I came to the realization that I never really had the chance to write crazy and perhaps offensive articles in a magazine that can get away with it.
At first I thought I was jealous of these publications ability to publish something that would raise an eyebrow or two and get away with it, but after thinking for a while I realized that wasn’t for me.
I’m a reporter who does the job and does it well. I’m not interested in shock value. I’m interested in reporting solid facts that people care about, ones that people need to know about.
And the rest, the rest is fine and good, as long as it remains under the radar, but it’s not for me.
All-in-all, though, I saw the value in any publication that serves the student body. The university campus is a strange place and therefore it needs a number of publications to serve it well — whether they deal in shock value or the realm of facts and sources, they’re valuable in their own way.