Monday, May 9, 2011

‘April Fool’s’: an editor’s take

By Lauren Rothering
Editor in Chief

The “April Fool’s” edition is a long-standing tradition among many college and university newspapers around the nation. From college to college, spoof issues are undoubtedly the most popular issues all year. Private and public, large and small, nearly every higher-education institution with a newspaper produces a spoof issue.

This year, our staff decided to resurrect the April Fool’s edition, not seen at SMU for several years. If you were to take a look around at our racks, you would see that not a single April Fool’s issue is left. However, unlike most colleges, it is not only because of the issue’s popularity.

Only a few hours after being online, the paper quickly disappeared from our Cardinal publications site. After a mere four days on the stands, the hard-copy papers were likewise pulled. Currently, there are stacks of hundreds of unread April Fool’s issues (representing hundreds of dollars from students’ activity fees) sitting idly in the Cardinal office.

It’s situations like these that make my retirement from the Cardinal more bitter than sweet. This year will be marked as one of constant struggle to produce a quality paper, while at the same time adhering to the “guidelines” of the administration. The April Fool’s issue was no different—although I received support from our advisor, Bob Conover, ultimately it was the complaints of a few SMU administrators that overpowered the positive comments and appreciation from countless SMU students, families, faculty and staff.

I can honestly say that malice was not our staff’s intent—we merely wanted to join the hundreds of other colleges and universities who poke fun at themselves each year, giving you a fun, light-hearted look at SMU in 2011. I think the pulling of this issue represents a much deeper problem that continues to plague SMU. If we refuse to make fun of ourselves, how can we really see ourselves objectively? How can we make improvements if we cannot acknowledge our own faults?

But for now, I bid the Cardinal farewell, armed with a disenchantment of bureaucracy and enough leftover Cardinals to wallpaper my new apartment.

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