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Student disagrees with Tech Talk policy.

This item originally appeared in the April 22, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

To the editor:

In last issue's editorial column titled, "So you want to write for The Tech Talk?" the editor stated that writing for The Tech Talk is thought of as "serving time." I find it troubling that the journalists who write for my school paper consider it an obligation, rather than a privilege, to write for the paper.

This is especially bad when one considers that non-journalism majors who want to write for The Tech Talk are not allowed to. Ironically, this means those who write for the paper don't want to, and those who want to write for the paper cannot.

The benefits of allowing other capable students to write for The Tech Talk should be obvious. For starters, simply because you are a journalism major does not necessarily mean you have views worth expressing.

Also, feeling that it is an obligation to write will likely reduce the quality of the columns. Finally, letting fellow, capable students write would more closely match being the student voice of Louisiana Tech.

The claim that this non-journalism major would be unable to write in a journalistic manner is absurd. It does not take a year of classes to learn the basic rules of journalism; these can be given in a few condensed lectures.

For example, students at LSUS, Northwestern and ULL do not have to be journalism or English majors to write for their school paper. Generally, these students just undergo on-the-job training where they "learn the ropes." While it's true that for some it might take a year to become adept at writing using journalistic rules, that's not necessarily the case for all. It should also be considered that any student who wants to write would still have to submit their articles for editorial review, just like the others, and if it's not up to par then it could be removed.

Every student currently pays $2.80 per quarter in fees to The Tech Talk -- which increases to $3.30 if the new self-assessed fee is passed. As with other organizations our fees go to (Athletics, Union Board, Drama, SGA, etc), The Tech Talk should be available for a student of any major to join. It should allow people to "try out" for a few positions, and if they are good enough, let them submit columns as regular staff members.

It could be argued that The Tech Talk provides a service to students, therefore paying a fee is justified by receiving the paper.

I would counter that idea by saying rather, it is the students who provide a service to the journalism majors. Students are funding hands-on experience for journalism majors, and it only seems logical to me that, in return, a few regular positions would be available to other students.

All it would take to make things right would be to open a few positions each quarter to non-journalism majors who want to write for the paper. Would that be so difficult?

Taylor Simpson

Graduate Student

Biomedical Engineering

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