“The Editor Departs”
Law Street Journal Article (April 8, 1991)
By Randol Schoenberg
I have been very grateful for the words of encouragement I’ve received throughout this year on the job we’ve done with the newspaper. Publishing an issue every month has not been easy, but I believe that we have served the Law Center community well.
We’ve accomplished quite a lot this year. In the past, the Law Street Journal came out irregularly. The content was inconsistent and the coverage poor. But this year we set a new standard with eight full issues (as opposed to only five last year) with more than double the amount of pages. By doing our own layout, we’ve been able to come out on schedule and report on news before it comes stale. I think the style of the paper has improved also.
Our staff has grown considerably, and I would like to thank the many people who have worked so hard to make this newspaper appear in your mailboxes every month. Our staff of senior writers took time out to contribute regularly, not because they were going to get class credit or because they represented a particular organization, but because they had something to offer which no one else could provide: The studied eye of a good reporter.
Along with our more noticeable presence came an added dose of criticism and responsibility. Instead of being a ragsheet that curiously appeared at odd intervals, the Law Street Journal has become a value and reliable source of information. So when we approached controversial subjects—Secession, the Course Evaluations Boycott, Minority Admission, Justice White’s visit or the SBA’s budget woes—we had a responsibility to act candidly and fairly. Some people have felt that at times we were not being fair. We have taken that criticism and learned from it.
But part of the trouble was certainly caused by the perspective we offer. There are two other sources of information for law students: SBA memos and the Administration’s Advance Sheet. We tried to speak from a third point of view and that sometimes put us at odds with the SBA and the Administration. But it has been my philosophy all along that the Law Street Journal should be independent. It should not merely parrot the views of the Administration or the SBA.
In France they call the press the Fourth Estate. That is because a truly effective press should not be permanently allied with anyone. If we were to hold back on stories merely because we are friends with members of the SBA or with the Faculty, then we would not be fulfilling our duty as journalists. That duty often puts us in difficult positions, but I believe that for the most part we have done the right thing. The positive comments I have received from those who rely on the Law Street Journal for information more than outweigh the few negative ones from people who would rather you receive their version of the facts or none at all.
This issue of the Law Street Journal will be the last of this year, but it is the first for the new Editor-in-Chief David Willats Beck and his staff. If this issue is any indication, we can be certain that the Law Street Journal will continue to provide timely and comprehensive coverage of Law Center news.