Clarion staff editorial: The Clarion is not Madison College’s personal newsletter

Clarion Editorial Board

Some of the instructors and students at Madison College have expressed concern about the advertisements inside The Clarion. Concerns that we run advertisements for four-year institutions with areas of study that compete with the classes offered here. It seems to have raised questions over the ethics of our choice to run these advertisements.

After hearing about this for some time, we would like to settle any controversy or misunderstandings. Let’s begin with our practice.

The most important thing for everyone to remember is that The Clarion is a student-run newspaper. The only faculty, if any, involving themselves within our news process, is our faculty advisor or on occasion an instructor will tip-off potential story leads.

This seems to be the heat of the discussion: Are we Madison College’s newspaper, exclusively? Not exactly. We are students that serve students. We operate within the college, but are not owned by the college.

The Clarion receives its funding from the Student Activities Board (SAB), which is entirely student-run, and votes to fund its various student organizations independently, using student fees through tuition. Other organizations the SAB funds include United Common Ground and Student Senate. The SAB also votes to fund special projects, such as the Health Clinic at Truax.

Our editorial process is 100 percent independent. This means we choose our content and try to present as many facets of a particular issue as possible. Our financing is partially dependent on the funding through SAB. But, like many other organizations, the rest of our funding comes from the sale of advertisements.

The ethical nature of advertisements in our publication is not up for discussion (unless they are obscene). As a student-run news organization we feel responsible for giving every possible option to a student concerning their future and education.

Without the business from advertisers, our paper would not exist in its current form. They pay for ad space in our publication and we deliver. This is not something specific to The Clarion; all news outlets do this, college to professional. Furthermore this practice remains consistent with our mission statement which is outlined on our website.

The Clarion does not give special treatment to advertisers, academic or otherwise. They get what they buy; it is that simple. To run the process otherwise would be biased, and in this case, giving preferential treatment to Madison College. Ethically speaking, that would place our publication in the wrong even more than creating any “conflicts” with private college advertisements.

If departments within the college feel threatened by our advertisements, we encourage them to purchase ad space from us. They can also write us a letter, so we may try to quell any concerns, or start conversation.