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Campus Newspapers Online: A Good Way to Get our Message to College Students
by Gary Fouse
Since much of my writing concerns the craziness going on in our universities, I spend a lot of time reading reports from such blogs as Campus Watch, College Reform, The College Fix, and Legal Insurrection to name a few. In addition to cross-posting items of interest, I often go the respective campus newspaper online editions to see how they are reporting a story. Predictably, it is being reported from a left-wing or politically-correct point of view. There's not much one can do about that. We are dealing with student journalists who are liberally inclined or in some cases afraid to take a conservative bent.
Many of these papers, however, have spaces for reader comments in their online editions, and it is here that conservatives have an opening to get in their point of view. Some papers will screen comments, such as the New University at UC Irvine, where I used to teach. They often would not publish comments that I sent in. (They did, however, usually publish letters to the editor I sent in as well as my own op-eds on a couple of occasions.) Currently, they have a new format and apparently don't accept any comments.
Other papers, like the Daily Bruin at UCLA and the Daily Californian at UC Berkeley, are very accessible to reader comments online, and I scour those papers regularly online for articles or op-eds to which I can comment. The Daily Californian is an especially rich field for obvious reasons. You can jump into some really good back and forths on this paper.
One surprising fact I have noticed is that while the pieces put out by the papers themselves are almost always liberal, the reader responses are much more varied. In fact, when it comes to issues like campus anti-semitism, Islamic extremism, Black Lives Matter etc., most of the responses are conservative. Since most of the comments come from readers who are either anonymous or go by monikers, it is hard to tell if they are students or people from outside the university. My policy has always been to attach my name to anything I write, and campus papers are no exception. It goes without saying that you have more credibility when attaching your name as opposed to being anonymous. I am currently involved in a back and forth in the Georgetown University paper, The Hoya, after they put out an op-ed saying that one of their grads, Steve Bannon, "perverted Hoya values" (whatever those are). The article is timely since one of their professors, Dr Jonathan Brown, a converted Muslim and part of the Alwaleed bin Talal Center at GU, had just given a speech at Herndon, Virginia, in which he justified certain forms (Islamic) of slavery and rape. I pointed out that irony to the Hoya and was rebutted by one identifying him/herself as "Georgetown Professor." In my own response, I pointed out that unlike my co-respondent, I signed my name.
Without going into all the problems of left-wing indoctrination going on in our universities, it is crucial that we conservatives get our word out to these students, who are largely unexposed to conservative thought on campus. One avenue that is largely still open is the online edition of campus papers. My suggestion is to tailor your comments to the neutral university student. Appeal to their sense of reason and logic. Try not to come across as a hater or an extremist. That will just drive them into the arms of the other side (which falsely claims to be so tolerant). Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct. Check back every day to see if someone has responded to you. (Disqus can send you responses automatically.)
It is easy to get discouraged about academia, but we can get our message through in certain ways. We should take advantage of any avenue open to us. If we can ever win the university students, we will win the war of ideas. Every future leader of our nation is walking the halls of academia today.