Bill Kuchman, editor in chief of The Cardinal Courier at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, writes in response to our post about The Loop, a new Web site for college students in the Rochester, New York area launched by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Kuchman has been one of the students working on The Loop since the project began in May.
I'd like to address some of the concerns that you brought up on the Student Newspaper Survival Blog, as I feel that I'm in a unique position being the only staffer on The Loop who currently serves as a college newspaper editor in chief.
I was hired to be a part of the initial group of students to work on The Loop. From my over three months working there, I can assure other college newspapers that the content on the site (for the most part) won't infringe on the territory of college newspapers. Believe me, as an editor in chief myself, there was no way that I would let The Loop move in on what college newspapers cover.
When you look at the stories on The Loop, you'll see that they bring in a wider audience and write about issues from a Rochester standpoint, instead of just a singular campus standpoint. For example, if St. John Fisher College's president were to resign, the Courier would cover it as just a news event from Fisher's campus. The Loop would bring in issues involving other campus presidents and recent changes in administrations. This is something that as a college newspaper, we don't have the resources to do, and frankly, isn't what our readership is interested in.
When it comes to staff, I am confident that this issue will resolve itself over time. Fisher's student on The Loop for the fall isn't even a member of the Courier. We at the Courier also have rules and guidelines built into our staff requirements and ethics policy regarding conflict of interest. If the issue of a member of our senior staff taking a job at The Loop were to arise, this is something that we'd address based on these policies. I cannot speak for other papers, but I am highly confident that the Courier has the experience and the understanding of proper journalistic boundaries that will be sufficient to guide us when working with The Loop.
In terms of advertising, we haven't suffered any loss of sponsors - we actually continue to add new accounts. Many of our advertisers have been with us for several years and understand the effectiveness of advertising in a college newspaper, especially a proven product like the Cardinal Courier.
I hope that this will resolve some of the concerns in regards to The Loop. If anyone would like to further discuss this issue with me, I'd be more than happy to talk to them.
William R Kuchman
Cardinal Courier Media Executive Editor
Cardinal Courier Editor in Chief
Class of 2008
St. John Fisher College
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