Austin Fast

Trying to find one word to describe my vision for The Miami Student during the coming year is pretty much impossible. I could speak in what one of my professors has called “journalese,” flinging 10-cent words at readers. Words like convergence, multimedia, engaging, interactivity. Or I could cheesily tell you I want The Student to be “your newspaper.”

Instead, I keep returning to the buzzword most overused during last year’s presidential election – change.

2009 has been a year of change for both Miami University and the United States, both meaningful and not. Barack Obama, the Pepsi logo, the Farmer School of Business and every Oxford building’s apparent decision to convert to luxury apartments during the summer.

It’s no different for journalists. The Internet is doing to journalism what the printing press, radio, television and cable news have all done before. It’s revamping the way people consume their news and how timely they want it to be, but it doesn’t change the fact that people need to know what is going on in the world around them. And we hope The Miami Student can keep the Miami community informed on events they are interested in.

Many more changes are coming this year. Plans for the Bicentennial Student Center, budgeting and dorm construction plans continue to adjust. We will try our best to not merely react to university decisions after they’ve already been nailed down. We’ll report on these plans as they’re happening so you can give your feedback before an administrator has signed off on them.

Miami’s student newspaper is independently produced, by students and for students. Of course, we understand students are not the only readers we have. Faculty, administrators, staff, alumni and Oxford residents also read our paper.

Our coverage tries to reflect that diverse readership, which means we cannot stop chasing down stories at the edge of campus. We cover city council and other important events in Oxford, Butler County or southwest Ohio as they relate to Miami. One of the difficulties of serving a varied community is striking a comfortable and interesting balance of coverage.

Another difficulty is striking a balance between providing an outlet for the engaged learning Miami promotes so heavily, alongside being a professional and accurate source of news. I’ll be the first to admit that as hard as we try, students make mistakes. And when we make those mistakes, you need to let us know so we can make it right.

Even though we’re “journalists in training,” we’re still journalists, and we are supposed to hold university leaders accountable for their actions. We all pay loads of cash to attend Miami, and that gives us a right to know what’s happening in Roudebush’s second-floor offices and how it affects our lives in Oxford.

Of course, it’s impossible for us to know everything. That’s where you come in. The Miami Student only has so many reporters and editors digging around for story ideas on campus and in Oxford. Thousands of pairs of eyes scan over Slant Walk and drop into Kofenya or walk down Oxford’s streets every day. We don’t rely on them nearly enough. We’re going to be talking with you, but we want you to talk with us.

Thousands of interesting and inspiring people who live in this community do amazing things all the time. However, we rarely hear from them. Miamians start non-profit organizations to help women in Liberia. They organize triathlons to fund research for Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Muscular Dystrophy. They travel to Honduras to build sidewalks and medical centers for people living in garbage dumps.

We want to tell their stories.

Let us know if you have a story to tell or you know someone who is changing the world. Let us know if you see something that bothers you. Stop by our newsroom in 17 MacMillan Hall and tell us. Our office is tucked away in the basement and can be nearly impossible to find, so take the stairs at the back of MacMillan. E-mail me at fastar@muohio.edu or any other editor. You can find their e-mails in this paper. Or you can call the newsroom at (513) 529-2257. We have fancy new phones that an IT Services initiative provided, so you can even leave us a voicemail when we’re not in there, which is really not that often.

Change happens and we’ll try our hardest to keep you up-to-date on what’s going on in southwest Ohio and this university. That involves expanding onto the Internet and making our newspaper more informative and easier to read. You might have noticed a few changes to The Student since last year. We hope they make reading the newspaper a little more informative and far more enjoyable.

I leave in less than nine months and my goal is to leave Miami better than I found it when I arrived three years ago as a nervous first year from a podunk town in the middle of nowhere. I hope that is your goal as well.

Austin FastEditor in Chieffastar@muohio.edu

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