The situation of journalism has appeared bleak as of late. To repeat what has now become a cliché, we are now in an era that is dominated by alternative facts and fake news. Through social media, we have the dangerous luxury of only seeing news stories that are specially curated to our own values, opinions and perceptions of the world. Ad revenues continue to decline and, with them, community newspapers—a vital tool to democracy and an informed public—are going out of business. I could go on, but it is all too easy to settle for pessimism.
The Brunswickan is your community newspaper and it has been for 150 years. We, too, have experienced the struggles of declining ad revenue, the gradual demise of print and the difficulties in competing with the seemingly infinite amount of online news sources. But we have survived and have come out on the other side as a paper that both digs deeply into its roots and is equipped to be competitive in the digital age.
We underwent a big change this year. Under the leadership of current EIC Adam Travis, the Brunswickan ceased to be a weekly print paper. Instead we have shifted our focus to online publishing for the bulk of our content while also printing a monthly magazine that allows for longer, more in-depth features on topics that are less time-sensitive. The purpose was twofold: By favouring online publishing over a weekly periodical, we are free to publish breaking stories soon after they have occurred without the lengthy process of printing; and yet, the monthly magazine allows us to maintain our physical presence on campus and publish longer stories that offer deeper insight into the UNB community.
Perhaps most importantly, the monthly magazine marks a return to our roots – a nod to our 150th anniversary. An early version of The Brunswickan had its tentative beginnings in 1867, and by 1882 the “University Monthly” became an established campus periodical, printing a journal that covered topics ranging from science and literature to discussions on academic reform. In 1922, the University Monthly finally became known as The Brunswickan, the self-declared “students’ magazine” of the University of New Brunswick.
Once again the “students’ magazine,” our aim is to provide a resource that members of the university community can turn to for all things UNB related. Our online content will provide breaking stories and timely information in all things news, sports and arts. Next year in our magazine, we want to focus on bringing you investigative pieces, profiles on the unknown stories of the university’s news makers, artists and athletes, features on the lesser-known aspects of the local arts scene and stories about the universal language of sport – all with a unique UNB perspective.
After 150 years, we want to break new ground. We may be Canada’s Oldest Official Student Publication, but we’re just getting started.
I wanted to end this introductory editorial on a more personal note. Three hundred and fifty-nine days ago, I left the Bruns after four years of throwing my heart and soul into this paper. I thought that I had made my contribution and that I was finished with the campus press. I was also about to start a master’s degree and, How was I going to run the campus paper while also working on a MA? I’m about to find out.
After spending a year away, I have realized how wrong I was. Leaving the Brunswickan left a big hole in my life and I feel like I still have a lot to offer. So, I’m back. And I couldn’t be happier.
Emma McPhee is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of the Brunswickan