What we do here at the Hawkeye

Olivia Barfield

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I am the editor-in-chief of The Hawkeye, which means I oversee everything that goes into this paper. I am writing in response to the controversy surrounding an article we recently published, “The problem with #BLM.”

We published a controversial article, and it made many of you mad. Just the headline caused an uproar. We have been tweeted, shared, tagged, texted, called and visited countless times this past week because people are angry.

We welcome it all. We’re happy to get you guys talking.

If all this commotion were just some students getting mad at an idea we published, I would have nothing to say. The only reason I am writing this is to address what seems to be a misunderstanding about what purpose we serve here at the Hawkeye.

The Hawkeye is an independent, completely student-run newspaper. The only ones who know what will be published beforehand are our editorial board, writers and photographers. The university administration does not tell us what to do and has no idea what we will publish. Even our own adviser doesn’t see our work until Monday morning when he picks a paper up off the stand just like everyone else. There is no prior review to our work.

Multiple Supreme Court rulings say we can put whatever we want into this paper. We are not a public relations magazine for this university. We are not just another part of ULM’s image. We are our own news-reporting body.

To reiterate, the university legally has no ruling over us. Are we affiliated with ULM? Of course. Can they tell us what to do? No.

The Hawkeye is a small, niche publication that serves the ULM community. Our readers are not all of the same beliefs, so we strive to represent everyone fairly by remaining unbiased.

In large-scale media you will see news outlets that lean left, like MSNBC, and news outlets that lean right, like Fox News. Each of these caters to the wants of their readers, which is a specific set of people with specific interests and usually similar ideals.

If you’ll notice, our news articles are delivered a little differently than most major news organizations because we do not inject our opinions into them. That’s a part of being unbiased. Another huge part of our unbiased stance is our opinion pages.

Our opinion pages are open to all. We publish not just what we agree with, but anything students want to write about.

If we wanted to, we could censor our pages from threats of discomfort. We could take out anything that we think could offend, or anything that may go against popular opinion. But we don’t, and it’s for your benefit.

I’ve been asked how I could allow for something so stirring to be published. This is a university campus. We are one big happy family. We don’t need tension.

I disagree. This is a university full of adults, not of children who need to be coddled and hand-held through the experience of finding their place in the “real world.” In the real world, people don’t agree. The same is true here.

By publishing a variety of opinions, we are allowing you to see into the minds of those who think differently than you. Do you think that article was just written as a hate piece? No, the writer actually feels that way.

The strongest opinions recognize their opposers. They don’t cower at the mention of a different view. When we give you a free look into the mind of someone who thinks differently than you, use it. Find a way to argue against it. An opinion without an argument isn’t worth much.

The touchy subjects are the ones that need to be talked about. They are the ones that need to be discussed. What is BLM about? Progression. You don’t see progression when you stay silent.

Whether I agree with the article or not, I will not apologize for its publication. This is how real people think. You can’t change someone’s mind if you don’t know it.

We’ve given you a platform. Use it. This article has started a conversation. Join in.

As with many controversial issues, the Black Lives Matter movement isn’t easily represented by two opposing opinions. We published two views on the subject by two writers who wanted to write about it, but there is a whole spectrum of opinions on the matter. If you feel like your view wasn’t represented, let us know. We’ll gladly publish you too.

In the U.S., we have some of the strongest freedoms in regard to what we can hear and say. I would like to see us use those freedoms to become some of the most well-versed people in the world. If we enforce our own censorship, we take away from a right so important that it’s the very first one this nation was given.

If you disagree, or if I failed to answer any of your questions, please write a letter to the editor.