A Letter from the Editor: On The Future of the Whalesong

daniel-piscoya-1BY DANIEL PISCOYA
Managing Editor, UAS Whalesong

In my very first Letter from the Editor, I praised this university’s close-knit community and sense of participation. In my last letter, I will say that if this tradition is not bolstered in the coming years, there will be a time with no more letters – no more Whalesong.

The Whalesong Newspaper didn’t always pay its student staff. As recently as five years ago, Whalesong staff  received only a $500 stipend as a reward for their work. Today, Whalesong staff are paid $9.50 an hour.

To this day, the Whalesong only thrives because of student submissions and student staff applicants. Our staff and the submissions we receive allow us to publish a 16-page paper.

If, as seems to be the trend, students are less and less willing to apply to staff positions or send it article submissions and letters to the editor, the Whalesong may have to cut pages.

If, as seems to be the trend, the Whalesong budget receives a significant cut, the Whalesong may be less able to incentivize student participation – i.e. cut pay or staff.

If, as seems to be the trend, both of the above situations apply, the Whalesong will be forced to rely on independent student volunteers to both write for the paper and to publish it.

In the midst of the current budget crisis, student-run organizations like the Whalesong must rely more and more on student body participation in the coming years. Fail to step up, and such organizations will die.

The good news is, such scenarios are a future that can be averted.

As of May 7, I will be stepping down as Managing Editor of the UAS Whalesong – I will be graduating. Taking my place is current Staff Writer Erin Laughlin, who is both driven and capable.

In her hands, I hope to see the Whalesong continue its reputation as an informative and engaging student newspaper.

However, she will not be able to do so alone, just as I have not been able to.

Starting this summer, the Whalesong will be hiring Staff Writers and a Photographer for the Fall 2017 semester.

I expect the students of this campus to carry on the tradition of UAS: to be participants in their community – to bear up and be the people that I expect them to be.

What has in the last year been called the “Whalesong renaissance” will continue with me out of the picture, but only with your help.

In the final reckoning, no editor fails alone, no editor succeeds alone, and no editor can be praised alone.

This is Daniel Piscoya, signing off.

Contact the Whalesong at uas.whalesong@alaska.edu.

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