The Merciad must make change

Ashley Barletta, News Editor

I think a lot of us saw this coming. As someone who has been with The Merciad since freshman year, I have noticed some things that I would like to politely point out for reevaluation. First, having weekly issues. This is simply unnecessary. We are supposed to be reaching a good portion of Mercyhurst students, but most of them don’t even know what The Merciad is. It seems like we are reporting the same things every week because there aren’t actually enough events at Mercyhurst for a weekly issue.

Second, having a certain number of articles to fill. I also see this as unnecessary. Once again, there isn’t a whole heap of things happening at Mercyhurst that are available for us to report on. There is nothing wrong with not having that many events, but I’ve seen editors who start reporting on general Erie community news/events and even world news/events, which is fine, but you know they only do it to fill the 16 pages in the newspaper every week. Don’t get me wrong, the things that happen outside of Mercyhurst are important for us to know, but it certainly doesn’t get much interest from writers or readers of The Merciad. Not to mention, the Merciad always reports on the same things, this is hardly anything exciting or gossip-worthy and if there is, it is always simplified and the flavor is taken away. People want to know the juicy details when things happen on campus, and you would think the newspaper would have the answers alas, they never do. It would be much more effective to report on things as needed. Nobody would have to worry about having enough articles prepared, and it might get more students interested in writing for The Merciad, since getting paid $10 per article doesn’t seem to be getting people to sign up.

Third, putting so much pressure on editors. I see this every week. Lately, many of the writers have not been getting their articles in on time, including writers who are experienced in the way The Merciad operates. This puts way too much pressure on editors who already have enough on their plate to then chase down the writer who didn’t turn their article in, OR they end up writing the article themselves. I have talked to all of the editors at The Merciad; every last one of them is beyond frustrated by this. There is an endless cycle of Merciad from week to week that each person who does work for the newspaper must keep at the back of their mind. I know the writers and editors want and deserve to be acknowledged for their hard work. So yeah, I’m sure the editors are tired of bending over backwards, mostly because of the scholarship they receive from the university for taking on the daunting task of being an editor. That is something that the school seems to keep hush hush about, and what for? “Oh no we have too many people interested in this position of ‘editor,’ what will we do?” The same thing you always do: hire the best person for each position and hope they actually stick with it for the entire time they’re at Mercyhurst. Again, I’m friends with all of the editors, and they are exhausted.

Fourth, not enforcing the rules to writers. Again, there have been issues with writers not turning articles in, and there are so few writers who even take articles in the first place that it’s really hard to fill a whole 16 pages worth of content every week. In fact, I’m making sure to make this article extra long not only because I am passionate about seeing improvements to the school’s beloved newspaper, but also because I want to help out the Opinion editor to fill space in his section. While I understand that it’s kind of hard to put your foot down on 18+ year-old college kids who aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, The Merciad also can’t afford to continue operating in the manner in which they are currently operating. Obviously, the writers have just as much going on in their lives as the editors, but what is asked of them is not that difficult. Very simple. Not rocket science. Yet, somehow, people still don’t do what is asked of them.I feel I have given a lot to the newspaper on campus and would really like to see it improve. I say all of these deconstructive things because I care about The Merciad.

But, I’ve got to say, I care way more about the people who work endlessly to make The Merciad happen each week than the paper itself, and the people are all burned out. Every week becomes more difficult for the reasons I have stated above, and I don’t see anything getting better unless there is reform. I believe I have stated my case clearly and have made suggestions for improvement fair and evident. At the end of the day, I hope this article can help instead of hurt The Merciad because it truly is a Mercyhurst tradition that I, and I’m sure many others, would like to see continue on into the future. It would be a shame to lose it forever. With that being said, I hope my remarks are taken seriously.