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About The Miscellany News

Published: Monday, October 6, 2008

Updated: Sunday, October 19, 2008 15:10

About Us

Since its beginnings in 1866, The Miscellany News has been the newspaper of record of Vassar College. Distributed each week on Thursday morning, the paper welcomes contributions from all members of the College community—students, administrators, faculty, alumni/alumnae and trustees. Our paper has five sections: News, Opinions, Life, Arts, and Sports. We also include The Backpage, a one-page humor section.

Any student within the Vassar community may serve on the staff of the paper as long as he or she attends weekly writer's meetings and fulfills the obligations of a staff member as defined in the bylaws of The Miscellany News.

Editorial Policy

The Miscellany News welcomes all interested students and readers to attend our weekly Paper Critique on Sundays at 9 p.m. in the Rose Parlor. At these meetings, we discuss the coverage in the previous week's issue, along with ideas to strengthen coverage in future issues. After this discussion, we break up into our five sections—News, Opinions, Life, Arts, and Sports. During this time, feel free to approach editors with questions or article ideas. This is a time for writers, editors and prospective writers to brainstorm the important campus events and issues that should be reflected in the following week's paper.

Due to the relatively small size of our staff, we are never able to cover all of the innumerable campus events each week. Thus, we are often faced with difficult decisions about coverage and content—decisions that must be made under strict deadlines. When deciding how to prioritize stories, our editors tend to follow a well-known journalistic rule of thumb: a story is newsworthy if it is so important that it doesn't matter whether it is interesting, or so interesting that it doesn't matter whether it is important.

The Miscellany News strives for the highest levels of journalistic excellence. As soon as a reporter identifies himself or herself, the conversation that follows (in person, by phone, or by e-mail) is considered on the record. Open meetings, including student group meetings and public fora, are considered on the record. The Miscellany News considers e-mails sent to an open listserve or forwarded from a source to be part of the public domain. We will make every effort to get in touch with the author of the e-mail before publication, but reserve the right to print such messages.

Sources are not able to see an article in which they are quoted before its publication. Sources may, however, ask to review quotes for accuracy. The Miscellany News holds its writers responsible for the truth and balance of their reporting, and allowing sources to directly shape stories would undermine the journalistic integrity of the story.

The unsigned editorial is the only article in the newspaper that reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board. Each week, the Board discusses issues of particular significance to the College and comes to a conclusion about the direction of the editorial. A member of the Board writes the first draft, and it is then edited and reviewed by the rest of the board. The Editor in Chief has an additional, final read of the editorial before it goes to press.

Letters and Op-Ed Submissions

The greater the plurality of voices represented in The Miscellany News, the better the paper can serve as a forum for discussion. As such, we welcome Op-Eds and Letters from all members of the community. Letters to the Editor should not exceed 350 words. Usually, Letters respond to a particular item or debate from the previous week's issue. Op-Eds are longer pieces, up to 800 words, and take the form of a longer column. Individuals may write as a Guest Columnist up to three times each semester. After the individual completes his or her third column, they must apply to be a full-time columnist in order to continue writing.

Although The Miscellany News encourages Letters and Op-Eds, we reserve the right not to print such submissions based on their factual accuracy, quality of writing or violation of journalistic policies and procedures. The Miscellany News will also edit submissions for grammar and style, but will not change meaning without prior consultation for the contributer. No Letter or Op-Ed may be printed anonymously.

All Letters and Op-Eds are printed in our Opinions Section. If you are interested in contributing, please e-mail Note that the Staff Editorial, printed weekly on page 2, is the only piece in the newspaper that reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board (or at least two-thirds of its members). All opinions submissions represent only the views of their authors, and do not reflect the views of The Miscellany News, its editors, or Vassar College.

Finally, The Miscellany News strives for the highest levels of accuracy in its reporting. Please e-mail us at to report an error in either our print or online editions.

Online Commenting Policy

The Miscellany News encourages readers to post their thoughts on articles and opinions pieces. However, we reserve the right to reject any comment made on the Web site that does not respond directly to the article's content, that personally attacks individuals, or that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. We also reserve the right to print or quote in the newspaper these online comments, which are subject to editing for style and grammar.

Online Advertising Policy

Note that two external advertisements appear on The Miscellany News Web site. These ads are selected by a third-party company, and not by the Managing Editor or Editorial Board of the paper. However, these advertisers exercise absolutely no editorial control over our content, online or in print. The Miscellany News in no way endorses their products or services.


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