Main Campus’ new student newspaper spotlights issues concerning Temple’s black community.
Although it hasn’t yet hit the presses, the New Voice, New Letter – the university’s soon-to-be black student newspaper – will strive to emphasize African-American issues in Temple’s community that may go unrecognized by Main Campus media outlets.
According to its mission statement, the newspaper will be “dedicated to acknowledging the achievements, talents and creativity of African Americans in the Temple University community.”
Brittany Lewis, a sophomore BTMM and English major, is the newspaper’s founder.
Although the newspaper won’t be officially recognized as a Temple organization until Oct. 2, The newletter has already gathered various sponsors, a nine-member executive board and is currently awaiting a pending copyright on the paper’s logo.
Lewis said the planned eight- to 10-page newspaper will be published every other month, beginning in late October, and will launch a Web site after the paper receives official recognition. The paper will cover a slew of topics, such as health, politics, upcoming events, trends, local and national news and more.
Senior sports and recreation management and marketing major Nadia Bosket, co-vice president of the New Voice, said both Drexel University and Rutgers both have African-American newspapers, adding that Temple’s time for a similar student-run outlet is overdue.
“It will help students be more aware about issues in the black community,” Bosket said. “Not everyone knows what’s always going on with us, and it will be a great way to inform the community.”
Right now, Lewis is the only journalism major on her staff of nearly 30, but she expects an array of student writers to get involved.
“College students know how to write, and we want the mix,” said Lewis, who is also recruiting writers from the Temple Association of Black Journalists. TABJ is in support of Lewis, Bosket and the rest of the New Voice team.
“We are definitely excited about the newspaper and definitely want to work with them,” said junior journalism major Kimberly Richards, president of TABJ. “It would be a great way to provide culture to the school, which is a lot of what Temple is about.”
Various faculty members have also shown their support for the New Voice, including Journalism Department Chairman Andrew Mendelson and George Miller III, a journalism professor and contributing writer to Philadelphia Weekly.
“There are plenty of opportunities for students to have a voice, and they recognized an opportunity to have a voice,” Miller said. “It’s fantastic. As long as it doesn’t become something of a dividing line, it’s great.”
Lewis said she hopes to “make the paper last,” by bringing up black issues and expanding coverage of news from other ethnicities and addressing topics that concern the public as a whole.
“It’s more than an African-American paper. It’ll grow bigger,” Lewis said. “A black newspaper on campus will let a group of students relate to a lot more issues.”
But some Temple students aren’t so sure about the idea.
“As a tour guide, I have experience working with people from all over, and I really know that we are a really diverse school,” said junior Andrew Agen, “but I don’t see the need for a paper like that.”
Those who disagree with the idea of a black newspaper said they feel that isolating an ethnicity as the foundation of a media outlet will only encourage the segregation of races within the Temple community and beyond.
“It’s not that it’s a bad thing,” added Agen, a strategic and organizational communication major, “but I don’t think that it should be geared just to a specific race. I just think that if we had a purely white newspaper, people, and minorities especially, would complain.”
“I always get, ‘Why a black newspaper?’ and you know most things are written about Caucasians,” Lewis said. “We’ll include things that anyone can pick-up and read and relate to.”
During the summer, Lewis read JET magazine and said she realized black issues often remain disregarded on campus and that Main Campus could use a publication to encompass the concerns often faced by minorities.
“I’ve always read a lot of Ebony magazines, [which are] targeted to African-Americans because there are a lot of issues that we can relate to more than other types of media,” she said.
But more than anything, Lewis said she aspires to contextualize news targeted towards the black community but that will attract everyone.
“There’s black, white, brown, every kind of person from around the country, around the world here. It’s definitely diverse and kind of overwhelming at first, but I came to this school for the diversity,” fine arts major Portia Lewis said. “[A black] newspaper would be great for everybody.”
Matthew Petrillo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.