For the past 137 years, the Orient has been the primary news source for Bowdoin College. As student press, the Orient has usually enjoyed unique access to administrators, faculty, and staff on campus. Such access to Bowdoin sources has not always extended to outside media reporting on the College. However, the Orient's mission of acting as a responsible campus news source depends on its ability to talk directly with those who make decisions for the College or have valuable insights on issues relevant to Bowdoin.
It has recently come to our attention that certain administrators at the College have been encouraged not to hesitate in redirecting Orient reporters to the Office of Communications. If employees of the College don't have time to speak with us, or if they feel uncomfortable or unqualified doing so, they have been told to channel Orient reporters to those who manage the College's public relations.
While the Office of Communications can be?and has been?a valuable resource for us at times, we urge members of the Bowdoin community to make the time to talk with us. Whenever possible, our reporters set up appointments to meet with administrators ahead of time. Only on rare occasions, when the urgency of a story calls for it, will a reporter attempt to meet with an administrator without prior warning. Such cases usually involve late-breaking stories that we feel warrant comments from certain employees of the College. We hope that our reporters do not unnecessarily interrupt employees who are busy at work, but if such situations do arise, we urge those people to communicate directly with the Orient editors about the problem.
Today, the Orient has a larger readership than ever. Since the creation of its Web site in the late 1990s, the effects of Orient reporting have become far more consequential than when the newspaper was limited to on-campus circulation. We understand that such a reality may be worrisome to those concerned with the College's image, as well as to those who are quoted on the record. Orient articles enter the public sphere in the truest sense, and we take our responsibilities as student press extremely seriously.
We understand that some people on campus may feel nervous talking to the Orient about sensitive subjects. But we expect employees of Bowdoin to feel confident in the decisions that they make, and we deeply hope that they feel comfortable in expressing their opinions.