Observer Fun-damentals, 2018-2019

By: Kira Paley  |  August 27, 2018

By Kira Paley, Editor in Chief

Though this is my second year as an Observer editor, my original editorial background is in satire. What has always appealed to me about journalism has not been reporting facts, but creatively twisting truth to point out its ridiculousness, hypocrisy, and humor. Thus, I’ve always gravitated toward the creation and consumption of satirical media; my Facebook newsfeed is rife with content from Sacha Baron Cohen and The Onion.

Yet The Observer is not a satirical publication; it is a campus newspaper that I’ve chosen to lead fully recognizing that I am responsible for providing students with significant, interesting material that does not need to be funny, and most often is not. But unlike the newsprint on which The Observer is printed, student journalism does not need to be so black and white; between satire and dry news reporting is a gray area where I would like The Observer to lie.

This is not to say that The Observer will not continue to report on relevant campus issues; our news team will keep on writing articles about important topics relating to the undergraduate student population, specifically the Beren campus population. But for stories about statistics, graduate schools, or irrelevant financial policy, students can look elsewhere. The YU Observer, though read by faculty, alumni, and more, is to be created by students for students. We will report on topics that the students of our undergraduate schools are interested in reading about, and we will do so in a serious way, encouraging dialogue through the presentation of truth.

We will not, though, take ourselves too seriously. We realize that we are not The New York Times, we are not The New Yorker, we are simply The YU Observer. We are comprised of a staff of 18-22 year-olds with little “real-world” experience but with a shared passion for giving students a voice regardless of their writing abilities, interests, religious attitudes, or political beliefs. Despite the cries of cynical students who protest the existence of diversity at Yeshiva University, our undergraduate campuses truly are diverse places and The Observer seeks to represent that diversity.

We will also not lie about who we are; I have been told countless times that The Observer needs to dial down its feminist undertones and I often feel responsible for altering the image of The Observer as an angry feminist newspaper. But as a newspaper comprised solely of female staff (not necessarily intentionally) who is reporting partly to a female student body, we are responsible for covering issues that might cause others to see us as angry feminists because the articles highlight gender inequality or advocate for the empowerment of women. I wouldn’t say that the purpose of The Observer is to be a feminist newspaper, but it is inevitable that our publication contains feminist undertones. I also believe that it is important that The Observer exists, to allow YU women to command their own newspaper and take on editorial roles without any limits.

I digress; I believe I was highlighting the values of fun, humor, and creativity that are emphasized at The Observer. In addition to news, features, and opinions articles, our full-length editions will feature artwork, creative writing, satirical pieces, and more that allow staff and students to not only express themselves through writing, but through other media as well. In that capacity, and by highlighting the diverse student body through individual student spotlight pieces, we will facilitate the creation of a publication that focuses on the undergraduate students of YU. And we will have fun as we do so; though we will obsess over facts, we will be accessible to students, to provoke creativity and discussion in which all students can participate and engage.

My hope is that students will follow suit: that they will be able to make time for both their intellectual and creative pursuits, that they will laugh at their pretentiousness without abandoning it, that they will question their institution without scorning it.

Tl;dr: This year at The Observer, we’re going to lighten up. We hope you join us.