I’m cutting the Round Up. Bear with me.
Journalism is a force for good. I truly believe this. It challenges the status quo in the hopes of promoting some kind of positive change—whether it’s shedding light on something unknown, demanding improvement or attention or action, or forcing readers to reflect on their reality. Journalism helps us.
I’ve always referred to Street as a magazine for students, not a magazine against students. We’re here to inform and to challenge and to entertain—not to bully or shame or humiliate. In running for Editor–in–Chief, my goal was clear: to allow Street to truly become an arts and culture magazine, not a tabloid or a gossip rag. Publishing fraternity gossip and sorority buzz delegitimizes the strong and provocative journalism Street does on a daily basis. I cannot consider Street a publication of character while running the Round Up, and I cannot expect readers to take our features and investigative stories seriously when published alongside something so baselessly cruel. How can we possibly run stories on important topics—topics like food insecurity and eating disorders and mental health—when we threaten our journalistic integrity weekly? It’s hypocritical and nonsensical. The Round Up compromises any tangible good we promote.
But it’s more than that.
The Round Up is pervasive. Like it or not, Penn reads it—it regularly clocks in as Street’s most–read article, hitting roughly 2,000 views each week. Penn voraciously consumes the Round Up, but that doesn’t convince me that we actually like it or need it. I have more faith in Penn students—we read it to stay in the know. We uneasily check every Thursday to see if perhaps our drunken mistakes made the cut, to see if the things we want no one to know are suddenly made public. But we don’t read it because we take pleasure in it.
I can’t continue to publish the Round Up knowing the tangible harm it causes. I can’t represent and defend a magazine that stands for the systematic shaming of Penn students. I can’t possibly be the face of a publication that is at odds with itself. Journalism is a force for good because it can promote some kind of positive change. The Round Up is not journalism. It does nothing intrinsically good.
So I’m cutting it. I’m getting rid of the Round Up. I’m compromising our numbers and our hits and I’m taking the plunge. If my legacy is to have knocked down Street’s numbers, so be it. Because I know my legacy will also include forgoing tradition in favor of something actively positive. It will include, hopefully, making Penn’s campus just a little kinder and a little gentler. I believe this will allow Street to be what it’s meant to be. I have faith in this. I hope you do too.