Editor’s note: Journalism and our community

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Hey everyone, we’re The Cord. We’re a news organization that provides students, staff and faculty with information about what’s happening on and around the Wilfrid Laurier University Waterloo campus. We tell stories that otherwise may not be heard and publicize perspectives that need to be told.

But in order to do this, you need to talk to us.

There’s a stigma around us that we’re here to “expose” the administration, the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, the clubs and associations that inhabit this fine university. But why is that the case? Have we made someone look so bad they can’t face the community? Have we told a lie? Have we avoided something?

Our job is to provide volunteer experience in the field of journalism, to hold members of the Laurier community accountable and tell the truth about what’s going on.

So what the hell is the problem with talking? Are people afraid to be misquoted? Are people afraid to be in trouble? Are people worrisome that we’ll fuck up?

We want to have conversations. We want to tell the truth. But avoiding us by putting policies in place, or sending us to different members of your group, or just saying “no comment” makes us think something sketchy is occurring and makes it harder for us to provide the greater Laurier community with information.

At the beginning of the year, I preached transparency, communication and accountability. I will not stop until the voices of the Laurier community are heard through the stories we tell to provide the truth. But if those voices are being silenced, then you’re not only letting down the people trying to tell the stories, but the very people you say you serve.

When Spotlight won best picture at the 88th Academy Awards, it put a big spotlight — full pun intended — on the importance of journalism in a free and democratic society. Yeah, this is university and not the “real” world, but without us as your journalists, how would you know the very happenings of Laurier outside of your current knowledge?

Don’t shut us down. We’re not here to make you look bad, we’re here to tell the truth. We’re here to tell your stories. And most of all, we’re here to serve you.

But we can’t serve you if you’re not willing to help us.

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