Just a moment of your time please

In last semester’s final issue of The Spartan, journalism professor Dave Blow and myself humbly bid adieu to Janet Gillet. — one of the most beloved and respected editors to likely ever manage this crazy circus of a newspaper: Janet graduated in the spring and has since gone on to graduate school to study psychology in Chicago. But before that – and this is the God’s honest Gospel – Janet pretty much single-handedly ran every element of the paper: editor, designer, reporter, photographer, etc.

Pile on a full course-load of additional classes on top of that and you get the making for one either incredibly talented – or potentially crazy – person.

She’ll admit that you have to be at least a little crazy to get involved in the journalism racket to begin. If that’s the case, than she’s easily the most talented lunatic I’ve ever met.

We’re going to miss Janet, as well as some of our experienced ringers, who either graduated or transferred just as they were blossoming into full-blooded writers and journalists.

Their departure left myself, a few returning staffers, and a whole handful of super-green freshman to fill the void.

A sane person would have cut and run right about now, likely citing the mere thought of their inevitable descent into madness as ample reason to say, “thanks, but no thanks, and screw you for asking.”

Thankfully, possessing excessive quantities of sanity is frowned upon in The Spartan office.

Originally in this space, I had clip of my usual editorial page fodder: a trigger-happy assault on some current trend that pissed me off, like painted on emo-pants, poodles, or Hannah Montana’s haircut.

People either loved or hated it, didn’t get it, or never read it to being with. Such are the rewards of writing.

But as I spent a decent amount of time lying awake in bed last night, I figured it might be a good idea to holster my “bitching guns” for a while, and maybe use this space for reasons other than simply trying to sound like a witty smart ass.

I am, after all, pretty much responsible for what goes into this paper and what doesn’t now. I have a certain amount of clout to live up to, which is no easy task.

The paper needs to be taken seriously. It’s the student voice of the school. Do you realize how many people really DO read this paper, via the campus hard copies or through its website?

It’s more than you think — a lot more.

You be surprised how many prospective students thumb around a college’s newspaper on the Internet when scooping out potential places to set roots down.

I recall hearing complaints from prospective students’ parents because our former editor, Dawson Raspuzzi, now a reporter at the Rutland Herald, wrote and ran a story called “A Bunch of Drunks at CSC?” on the front page of The Spartan.

It was an informative look at alcohol use on campus – and had a giant photo of a beer helmet-wearing undergrad smiling at the camera.

Parents and some faculty were peeved, saying the article – which also happened to come out around parent’s weekend, I believe – made Castleton look like a bunch of amateurs.

That’s not exactly the image you want prospective students to conjure up in their minds when the time comes to pick a college, especially one that’s supposedly undergoing a massive facelift.

We have a lot of responsibility here at the paper and it’s going to take a ton of work. But we’re greener than usual this go round. Many of us are still learning the ropes on several things, while others are still looking for a rope to call their own.

We’re just asking for a little bit of patience. No one here is out to expose anyone who didn’t already have it coming to them – at least not on my watch.

But inevitably, mistakes will be made: by rookies and vets alike. Sooner or later, a reader is going to find an article they feel is slanted or biased, or they will find a story to be written in poor taste.

That’s the nature of the beast at any newspaper.

The difference here is that we’re all still feeling the process out. This is why we come to college, to make mistakes and hopefully take a thing or two away from them in the long run.

And as with any learning process, it requires patience and nurturing.

You don’t scream at a toddler when it’s learning to walk, do you?

I didn’t think so.

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