From the Editor’s Desk: Journalism takes a village
The Thresher has been part of my Rice experience for as long as I can remember. On move-in day, I was recruited within minutes by my O-week advisor and former managing editor Anna Ta to write for the Thresher’s news section. My first story on Fondren Library’s new furniture wasn’t the most groundbreaking, but it was the beginning of my storytelling journey at Rice. I quickly came to appreciate the privilege of being able to weave together voices of diverse campus constituents, bring timely news to our audience and play a small part in this storied organization full of the most driven, kind and collegial people I have met at Rice.
The Thresher does incredibly important work on campus, telling stories of not only joy and celebration, but also of pain, uncertainty and injustice. Student journalism can often be simultaneously exhausting and rewarding, especially when we cover heavy topics such as pedestrian deaths, sexual assault or the COVID-19 pandemic—few of the stories I have had the honor of working on. I often hear comments in passing about Thresher journalists being “out to get” students, the Student Association or administrators. I can assure you this is never the case. Remember that we are fellow students seeking to deliver truth to the community with the best intentions in mind. I am deeply appreciative of every student, staff member, faculty and administrator that has shared their stories, data and viewpoints with me. Without the Rice community’s buy-in, the important work we do would not be possible.
Through my years as a news writer, editor and editor-in-chief, I have realized that journalism requires immense collaboration and mutual support within our organization. Two nights ago was my last Monday Meeting—our weekly gathering of our full staff to discuss business and plan for the week. I have attended close to 90 of such meetings, which were always in person pre-pandemic. Seeing the faces of dozens of staffers, even on a computer screen, reminds me of the incredible strengths of each member that collectively make this organization so wonderful.
I have never thought of the Thresher as work. While I have wound up in the office till midnight on Mondays and Tuesdays back-to-back, pushing back school work to the early dawn hours, I have loved every minute of producing something meaningful each week alongside my fellow staffers. Serving as editor-in-chief for this year has been a unique privilege and challenge. We lost much of the in-person component that had made the Thresher so special for me, but the sense of community, work ethic and desire to cover the most pressing issues was undiminished.
In closing, I would like to give a big shoutout to my co-editor-in-chief Ivanka Perez, managing editor and former co-news editor Amy Qin and our wonderful Director of Student Media Kelley Lash. Without these amazing people by my side, I would not have made it through this year.
More from The Rice Thresher
On Oct. 5, 2021, the Thresher published a guest opinion written by David Getter lamenting the erosion of freedom of expression at Rice. In the interest of embracing Getter’s call for reasoned discourse, I would like to offer a response to the claims made in the piece.
Within the hedges of Rice University, it is possible — and thanks to online shopping, sometimes easier — not to venture out and explore the city that Rice calls home. However, treating campus as separate from Houston fails to recognize the impact that we have on the larger community that we are a part of. To support the relationship between us and Houston, the Rice community should make a consistent and concerted effort to shop at and support local businesses.
Before Hispanic Heritage Month officially ends, I would like to take a moment to write about the labels those of us of Latin American heritage use to describe ourselves. At Rice, club names, course titles and survey questions often defer to pan-ethnic labels even though most people tend to use their national origin group as a primary identifier. These pan-ethnic labels are problematic. Although they in some ways unify Latin American communities, they often leave out others, like Afro-Latinos and indigenous Latinos. My goal here is not to dissuade people from using pan-ethnic labels; as history has shown, they can be useful, to some degree. However, my intention is for all of us, Latinos and non-Latinos alike, to use them wisely — with the understanding that the Latino community cannot be condensed into one culturally, ethnically or even linguistically homogeneous group. With that in mind, I hope that we as a Rice community continue to discuss and re-evaluate our language even after Hispanic Heritage Month ends.