One hundred and fifty three years. A lot has changed in the last 153 years. Nations have risen and fallen, wars have broken out and subsided, civil rights have been won and lost, trends have popped up and parted, and Vassar has gone coed (luckily for me). In this infinitely fluid world, can you remember just a few things that have stayed the same? Maybe I should start you off with an easier question: Do you even remember what you had for breakfast this morning?
In the midst of the hyper-speed blur of move-ins, introductions, course catalogues and soggy Deece breakfasts that comprises Orientation Week, it is easy to be too disoriented to retain any of the details of Vassar—too overwhelmed to make genuine sense of this place, and how you can fit into it.
If you asked me what defines this place, I’d have to speak to how this place has defined me. The Miscellany News, now going into its 153rd year, has not only been a guiding force throughout my college years, but a withstanding pillar of the Vassar experience. I’ll take a leap and say that every student who has come through this institution’s gates has more than likely, at some point, held a copy of the Misc in their hands.
The newspaper that is now in your hands is the amalgamation of a legacy that my colleagues and I take a turn in sustaining. History runs through our words, our decisions, our practices; in the world’s longest game of telephone, students have passed on to each other the nuanced quirks and tricks needed to make the Misc appear every Thursday.
In a way, this thing has been kept alive by sheer willpower, stemming from what I believe to be our shared set of obligations: inform, engage, and demand accountability. But in today’s political landscape, these values and our legacy have never been more challenged. Lack of trust in the media has become a locus of societal frustration and polarization; robust reporting is overlooked; the provocation of outrage churns the wheels of the big-business journalism machine.
Yet, 153 years and counting, the Misc remains grounded. In fact, student journalists are at the crux of a monumental crossroads in American history, and our responsibility today is as great as it has ever been. In towns and cities across the country, student journalists work to fill news gaps in communities struggling to maintain their local paper. Everywhere, student journalists occupy a unique position, with the ability to sustain an impassioned idealism that journalism can still uphold its fundamental obligations.
If there is a time for investigative reporting founded in fact, columns that expand perspectives rather than narrow them, and innovative social media content designed more to educate than to attention grab, the time is now. Reporting requires patience, writing demands vulnerability, editing can be grinding, but we are here to help. Consider joining our community at The Miscellany News.