From the editor: We want to hear from you

Herald Editor-in-Chief Laurel Deppen shares an invitation to the community for submissions that are to be included in the new Community Page.

Laurel Deppen

Probably just like you, I vividly remember the last time I walked through campus before COVID-19 forced us from classrooms to Zoom calls. I remember making jokes about “not coming back from spring break because of corona.” I remember my friend getting a common cold and calling it coronavirus. I remember making jokes comparing the virus to my favorite imported beer.

I remember laughing when the advisor of the Herald suggested we make a page specifically for coronavirus coverage.

You know the rest of the story. We all got the news of an entirely virtual end to the semester. We all sat with the uncertainty of the fall. And that coronavirus page my advisor suggested? Most of the stories we publish on WKUHerald.com are on it.

Now we’re back to school, going to classes with masks on our faces, hand sanitizer on our key chains and inboxes filled with Zoom links.

As we all got used to working virtually and changing the way we lived, this summer also saw a rise in protests related to the police killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville.

These protests caused increased attention and discussion of the ever-present systemic racism this country has housed for its entire history. These are things that Black Americans have lived with forever, but in this particular moment, more people – particularly white folks – are paying attention.

It has become abundantly clear that the Herald needs to change, just as everything else needs to. My team and I are committed to doing it right.

We’ve reconfigured our writing and editing processes so we can produce content for our newsletter in real time, which will be in your inbox every weekday afternoon. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe at wkuherald.com/newsletter.

The newsletter is designed to get you the information you need in a method that’s much quicker and more convenient than our print edition. In these times when everything changes at the blink of an eye, this is information you’ll need, and we want you to have it as soon and as accurately as possible. I also invite you to follow us on Twitter at @wkuherald for even more immediate updates.

As long as classes are happening in person, our print edition will still be available on Tuesdays in kiosks around campus and throughout Bowling Green. In print, you’ll find stories that aren’t in the newsletter. It’s meant to be a wider look at the things on campus you care about in a longer form, including news, sports and features.

Diversity, however, is something the Herald has always lacked, and today, that is still the case. But what the events of the summer have truly shown is that institutions, including WKU and the Herald, need to not just listen more, but also listen to understand. We should listen to Black people and commit to amplifying their voices. This commitment will require more than just the empty promise of a black square on our Instagram feed.

One of the ways we’re doing that is reforming the “Opinion” section. For too long, our opinion pages have only offered the perspectives of our own editorial board. We gave you our opinions, but we lacked your contributions.

These pages should reflect what the WKU community thinks and cares about. That’s why we’ve renamed this page “Community.” Though each member of our editorial board is a WKU student, we don’t reflect a broad enough range of the campus community.

The editorial board is currently made up of 11 people. Ten of them are white, and one is Native American. There are three men, seven women and one non- binary person. Four identify as members of the LGBTQ community.

Our team also lacks diversity in smaller ways: most of us are students in the School of Media, and all of us are in the Potter College of Arts and Letters.

All of this is to say, there is no way the 11 of us can represent — or speak for — our entire campus community.

That’s why we want to hear from you.

The community page will be a space to represent the diversity of our campus. We want to highlight a variety of different voices so our readers get a clear view of what our campus cares about.

You can submit a letter to the editor through our website or email our community page editor Julianna Lowe at [email protected] We want to hear your responses to what is happening nationally, statewide and at WKU. We’re also hoping to highlight the mission of each on-campus organization. The broader the views shared, the better.

We will still write editorials when our team deems it necessary.

What are we missing? How can we improve? I view the Herald as a service to our readers, a vehicle of holding our leaders accountable and a reflection of our community. I’d love to hear your thoughts on our coverage beyond our community page. What are we missing? How can we improve? You can email me at [email protected], or I can be reached by Twitter direct message at @laurel_deppen.

Thanks for reading. Now it’s your turn.