By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
Sometimes I think the people who say nothing happens in Abilene don’t live in the same city I’ve called home for three years.
In the past 10 months alone, we’ve had West Texas native Bill Burkett faxing forged documents about President Bush’s National Guard service from an Abilene Kinko’s, and former student and Optimist reporter Melody Townsel appearing in national news with her allegations against the nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
And Optimist reporters were there each time, whether staking out Burkett’s house with the likes of New York Times reporters or breaking a story on Townsel’s past history of plagiarism, which made the rounds on political blogs across the Internet.
The Optimist may not get those same kinds of opportunities this year. But whether the story has national significance, is about the next centennial event or informs what the Students’ Association did with the students’ money at its latest meeting, the Optimist pledges to cover each with diligence.
On the news pages of the newspaper, the staff will strive to bring readers the complete, unbiased facts of campus, local and national news. Readers should be able to trust what they read to be accurate and fair, and if the staff fails to provide that in its news coverage, readers are encouraged to bring that to the staff’s attention.
However, our readers should expect to turn to this page each issue and see opinions-often biased ones. I don’t pretend all readers will always like or agree with what they see on the opinion page-that is perhaps one of the main reasons for the opinion page. But its content should always be fair.
Through our staff columns and editorials and your letters to the editor, even if we never agree with each other, we can spend this historic year for the university understanding and learning from each other.
If the staff does not hear feedback from the community, the newspaper cannot gage its accountability or trust it has with readers.
Without trust and accountability from readers, staff members essentially write for themselves-something to which I would never commit 40 hours a week.
This year should include exciting times for the university, between the thick packet of scheduled centennial events occurring throughout the year, regularly scheduled events and whatever national news Abilene finds itself in the middle of again.
After three years, I can guarantee one thing: Something will always be happening in Abilene to read about in the Optimist.