Letter from the Editor 01.18.2022
On pop culture, mystery novels, and inclusive journalism
As a child, I was never particularly immersed in pop culture. I didn’t consume mainstream music or kids’ TV shows, instead opting for a steady diet of vintage Hardy Boys novels handed down to me by my grandparents. Something about watching a story unfold page–by–page, the whole time feeling like you too had a stake in solving the puzzle, was infinitely more satisfying.
I spent most of my childhood with a book in my hand, something I can hardly imagine doing now. I read the Encyclopedia Britannica (yes, really), my fifth grade biology textbook, and nearly every book in the bargain bin of Borders with equal fervor, hoping that one of them would unlock some hidden corner of my mind that would make the world make sense.
But as I entered middle school, my love for reading shifted from mystery novels to magazines, and stacks of Seventeen and Girl’s Life began piling up on my nightstand. I’d imagine life as editor–in–chief of a fashion magazine the same way I’d imagine it as a dolphin trainer or astrophysicist: beautifully unattainable.
I was convinced I’d never make up for the pop culture void that was the first 12 years of my life, and that caring about social justice was irreconcilable with writing about makeup tips. It often felt like my then–closeted queer and nonbinary self would never find a lifestyle magazine that published the things I wanted to read.
Street is where I learned that these ideas could coexist. Watching Bea work tirelessly to make this magazine more inclusive while also unapologetically indulging in the most frivolous pop culture scandals taught me that I didn’t have to sacrifice any part of myself to be a journalist. We can laugh at blind items about Drake putting hot sauce in a condom while also investigating the problems with our university’s COVID–19 isolation process. I can write a roundup of ice cream shops one week and profile a trans fitness instructor the next.
I can’t promise that we’ll always get it right. Being a student journalist means preparing to make mistakes, and pushing for big changes means learning what works by trial and error. What I can promise is that we will take our mistakes seriously and commit to uplifting the voices and concerns of marginalized students on this campus, so that someday everyone can see themself reflected in our pages.