First thing that happened when I walked into my session this morning, 9 a.m., and opened my laptop: “Oh, you’re from Elon? Do you work for The Pendulum?” The speaker of my session this morning, titled “Sex on deadline: covering campus love, lust and every kind in between,” was Dan Reimold, professor at the University of Tampa and…wait for it…is who runs collegemediamatters.com. The Pendulum has been featured on this site several times before, so meeting him was exciting. But onto what we actually learned.
It was interesting to hear about sex columns in newspapers, as The Pendulum doesn’t have one and doesn’t often (if ever) really write about such a topic. Some sex columns are raunchy, but some stories have the potential to be extremely informative to a university’s student body, depending on the subject and how it’s presented. This was the point that I thought Reimold was trying to make – you can have a good column, group of stories, whatever on this subject, as long as it’s done in the right way. And it seems to be a popular thing, as he said that these stories and columns are often the most-read items in a college newspapers.
A few types of columns he discussed could be as followed: question and answer, first-person confessionals, debates, commentary and, what I think the Pendulum could really use and benefit from writing, news reports about these types of things on campus.
But these columns aren’t purely about sex, and they’re not purely “pro-sex” as many people might believe. These types of stories can allow students to really connect to the writing about an issue that hits close to home. A lot of the stories written in many newspaper seem to be geared toward issues that the administration, alumni and faculty care about more than students, which is why sex columns or stories about sexual health and other related issues would be great pieces for students to read.
This is not something that Elon, or The Pendulum, has really done or even looked into as far as I can tell, but I say – why not? Okay, well it might be a big step for the newspaper, but I think it might be suited well for a magazine, such as The Edge. With a magazine, we have a bit more freedom to print such articles and I will definitely speak to my editor about this. 🙂
– Kate Riley