Thursday, April 22, 2004

A New Campus Paper? 

So I read this story on the Shotgun about a new conservative student newspaper at UofA, and it reminded me of an idea I have about how campus conservatives and libertarians can more effectively convey their message on campus.

The idea came in the aftermath of the idea of some students of the right running for student government. Having some ties with them, I received a few e-mails about their platform (the elections were held after I came to Mississauga, so I never heard more than the e-mails). I felt that their platform was centrist at best, with a bit of rhetorical garnishing to attempt to set them apart from the centrist and leftist slates also running. The results were, to put it frankly, humiliating, with several positions the right-wing slate garnering less votes than the joke slate, yet conveniently enough to split enough votes from the centrist to make for a socialist landslide.

Now the truth is that student government really does jack squat, so I can't care less. But the vote provided valuable demographic data (I know it's biased; I took stat courses, but it's still useful), which I hope that people got a few lessons from. Most university campuses, like UBC, simply do not have a strong enough vote for conservative and libertarian views to be self-sufficient. However, we can promote a dialogue with our political opponents and increase awareness of our views.

My idea is a campus newspaper as well. However, our objective isn't preaching to the choir. This newspaper would bring in student writers from all political stripes: socialist, green, centrist, libertarian, conservative, etc. As would its advertising sources: yes, I want to see the Fraser Institute sell ads beside the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Like the Ubyssey, it would cover campus and non-campus news. But it would be combative, thought provoking, because writers would have to actually defend their views, challenge one another. And people would actually be interested in reading it, instead of blather that I can conjure up in my sleep.

Will it fly? I don't know. It would be hard to come up with some sort of editorial board that won't self-implode, and then sell to advertisers to support a newspaper whose majority of reader may be completely uninterested in what they're selling. But it would certainly be an opportunity for political junkies of all persuasions to get their point across, and learn something from each other. I'm too taken up by co-op to ever devote enough time to pull this off. Any takers?
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