Harvard News 4/11/83–Editorial – “NEWS” AND “SNOOZE”: BOTH CAN WORK By E. Randol Schoenberg, Editor-in-Chief
With the appearance of an underground newspaper, the Harvard Snooze, a question has arisen in my mind concerning the purpose of our newspaper. Should our main function be to inform, entertain, or just to pat students on the back? Should we print only public-interest articles, including gossip and satirical slander, or should we print only straight, hard facts, news that everybody already knows? Could we print a mixture of the two and some thought-provoking editorials and cartoons? Should we avoid controversial issues or seek them out? These are all questions to be answered if this newspaper is to be considered a success.
In Los Angeles, there are two types of papers, the L.A. Times, which contains straight news, sports, features (Calendar), editorials, and cartoons; and the National Enquirer, filled with non-serious news, gossip, fads, and light features (boy with two heads, man with a hundred snakes, etc.). Some people feel the need to read both papers to be informed, others only need to read one or the other. But there has never been a successful mixture of the two types. To work, they must be separate.
That is why we printed all of our joke articles in one issue. If we had mixed them with serious news every issue, it would destroy the credibility of our paper. Who would know what to believe?
However, I do not deny that we need to expand our focus. Up until the Harvard Snooze, we had no idea what Harvard students wanted in the paper. Unfortunately, we still have only a vague idea. The Harvard Snooze did not show us what our paper should be like. Our newspaper’s main function is to report news, and I think we have an obligation to print news. But if Harvard students want a National Enquirer-type newspaper, they should have that, too.
I applaud the writers of the Harvard Snooze. They gave us something that Harvard needs: humor. And I hope they continue printing it. We will try our best to liven up our paper too, with cartoons, an “athlete of the issue,” and anything else we can think of, including perhaps some more controversial editorials. But we will always print the news, features, and sports that make a good, informative paper.
Harvard needs a Harvard News and a Harvard Snooze. They should both be interesting and entertaining, but with a somewhat different emphasis. I think we would all benefit from a regular printing of the Harvard Snooze. Furthermore, we at the Harvard News would frown upon any administration attempt to censor the Harvard Snooze. It is an expression of student opinion which is as valuable as anything else in our Harvard community.