Creating a campus-focused Sundial

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The Daily Sundial is an important part of this campus, but more importantly, the campus is an important part of the Daily Sundial. In trying to determine editorial policy for the Sundial this semester, we’ve tried to keep that in mind. A new slogan on a dry erase board in our office simply says, “Campus first. The world can wait.”

There are plenty of good stories to tell here at home, so we’re going to do our best to try and tell them. Our students, faculty, staff and university administrators struggle in unique ways because of this campus’ unique character. We’re big enough to be a major autonomous player in our region, but we’re still part of a greatly affected 23-campus system hit hard by a serious revenue problem. Our students commute from Pasadena and Whittier, but we also have a vibrant community up in Student Housing. The socially progressive movement is still alive from the days of Students Against War, and so is Greek Life. It’s fantastic.

I was involved in student clubs and organizations on this campus for most of my stay here as a student. A lot of the people I used to attend club meetings with are now senior members of Associated Students, have served on provost search committees, and work in the Public Relations office in University Hall. I think we’re all fairly integrated into this campus, and the stories we’ve come across along the way need to be told.

We’ll be premiering specific new elements of the Sundial that will help us accomplish this goal of a tight campus focus.

The Sundial Update (page two) will be the new home for brief stories that quickly update our readers on campus happenings. The whole Update can be read in less than five minutes, and it’s a perfect place for student clubs and organizations and academic departments to get the word out about their events, programs or award recognitions.

A newly formed six-person Sundial Editorial Board will determine the official editorial position of the newspaper. Two of the members are regular CSUN students who are not editors at the Sundial, and we intend on tackling more pressing campus issues in our editorials.

The Sundial Blog (sundialonline.blogspot.com) will be a unique home for members of the Sundial community, including our readers, to post personal commentaries and important news.

The Sundial Opinion section will welcome more non-staff contributors to speak on a variety of issues, including campus news. We want senators from A.S., students from the Biology Department, and professors from Pan African Studies to contribute something to the Opinion page. There’s a lot left unsaid on this campus.

And this is just a sample of things to come.

To accomplish our goal of a strict campus focus, we need the campus community’s help. Having a source for a story “unavailable for comment” because they’ve historically found Sundial reporters to be misinformed or annoying doesn’t do a whole lot for either the learning or journalistic process. It’s important to keep in mind that the Sundial is run by real CSUN students, and therefore not perfect. It’s a learning process for everyone involved, including our sources.

That is not to say that mistakes are welcome here. It’s quite the opposite. If you have concern with the accuracy or tone of something we’ve published, please feel free to contact the editorial staff here at the Sundial Office. Your contacting us will truly make this a learning experience.

I can’t wait for things to start happening. I can’t wait for our campus’ first politically charged rally of the semester. I can’t wait until A.S. is forced to take a position on an issue because its been asked to by other students. I can’t wait to read about the pressures our professors are under to keep politics in (or out) of the classroom.

So, let’s do this thing. I hope you enjoy it.

Ryan Denham can be reached at ryan.denham@csun.edu