15 years of The Brandeis Hoot

The Hoot published its first issue on January 14, 2005. At our 15-year mark, we wanted to look back to where we started when three former members of the Justice founded The Brandeis Hoot, and reflect on our progress since then. The Hoot was created as a community newspaper, written about, by and for members of the Brandeis community. 

In the words of said members, who became part of the first Hoot editorial board, in the first editorial written for The Hoot, “What is missing from this community is a publication that provides deep, insightful, meaningful news coverage and commentary about interests of direct concern to Brandeis students, staff, faculty and alumni.” Contrary to popular opinion, The Hoot does not exist to rival the Justice. We respect and appreciate the work that the Justice does, and view it as an essential part of the Brandeis community. The Hoot exists because we believe in freedom of the press and we intend to exercise that freedom to the best of our ability.

In the past 15 years, we, the current editorial board of The Hoot, have continued to strive for the goals that our founders set; to pursue relevant, timely and informative news pieces, in addition to coverage of varsity sports, art critiques, features on community members and on-campus organizations and student opinions.

The creation of The Hoot continues to be questioned by some, as exemplified in the previous academic year when The Hoot faced a potential de-chartering from the Student Union. We still exist today as a result of the efforts of our editors, the student body and alumni, which only reinforces our standing as a community-focused paper. The support of Brandeis students and the community as a whole for The Hoot during our near-dissolution helped us to understand and better explain to others why we have two newspapers and why it is important to express multiple viewpoints, even within a community as small as Brandeis.

We believe in the importance of freedom of the press, and view the presence of two newspapers on campus as an opportunity to cover different events on different publishing schedules, so students always have the most up-to-date news regarding campus events and community members. It also allows us to improve with each article we publish and keep each paper accountable. In an editorial we published following the withdrawal of the proposal to de-charter The Hoot, we discuss the need for free press and its advantages, writing, “On campus, as in the real world, the press should not be limited. Different editorial boards provide a range of perspectives…” We may be chartered for the foreseeable future, but these are words we continue to stand by. 

The founders of The Hoot fought to achieve this ideal of free press on campus, starting in an apartment in the Foster Mods and eventually moving to the Romper Room, the club printing room adjacent to the Student Union office, and finally to the Brandeis Media Coalition (BMC) on the third floor of the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC). Within a year, we became a chartered club, funded by the Allocations Board, and ever since we have consistently distributed 16-page—and sometimes 20-page—issues while classes are in session. We have a full staff of editors and reporters, photographers, layout designers and distributors all dedicated to spreading The Hoot’s mission.

Our mission doesn’t just mean focusing on the Brandeis community, but also strengthening the community within the paper and within our editorial board. The Hoot is a communal effort. By holding each other to a high standard, printing objective facts and abiding by journalistic ethics, we have managed to create a newspaper that we are proud of and that the Brandeis community can trust.

Thank you for 15 years.

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