Think about it’s a sunny day at Stanford in 2018. You get up and test your cellphone to see the newest FoHo e-newsletter drop in your electronic mail inbox — a Stanford medical pupil poisoned their classmates with formaldehyde?! At breakfast, you would possibly choose up a replica of the Stanford Politics journal in a eating corridor and skim its newest response to The Stanford Each day’s Editorial Board’s response to Stanford Politics’ critique of The Each day. To not point out the Stanford Sphere’s or the Stanford Overview’s commentary on the inter-newspaper drama.
As we speak, solely The Each day and the Overview stay, leaving gaping holes in Stanford’s beforehand multifarious information media ecosystem. What occurred to those publications, and what implications does their loss have on our neighborhood?
As soon as upon a time …
The Fountain Hopper (or FoHo because it was extra generally recognized) was an irreverent student-run tabloid whose nameless newsletters have been delivered on to 1000’s of subscribers’ inboxes. It was the primary publication to interrupt the Brock Turner story and delivered nice persevering with protection on the case and its aftermath at Stanford. FoHo additionally gained nationwide consideration for revealing how Stanford college students may entry their admissions recordsdata. Sadly, over COVID, its scoops dwindled, and in the present day FoHo’s web site now not exists.
FoHo occupied a novel place in our campus media panorama; with no excessive bar for fact-checking and sourcing, it may flip round breaking information earlier than any info have been confirmed. These included tales about alleged crimes on campus, alleged misconduct by Stanford directors and college and anecdotes about events and pupil mischief. Though we don’t condone FoHo’s strategies of uncovering and disseminating data, which revolved round nameless and sometimes unverified ideas, we mourn the lack of such a widely-read media outlet.
FoHo’s demise coincided with the rise of the social media app Fizz, an nameless dialogue discussion board app at Stanford and lots of different faculty campuses the place anybody with a college electronic mail can put up campus commentary, memes and odd requests.
At first look, it could look like FoHo has been changed by Fizz with its bulletin board-like discourse. Nevertheless, Fizz lacks a number of defining options that lent FoHo its explicit energy as a media outlet. Fizz is a free-for-all the place any consumer can put up any content material with out accountability. With out editors or writers who’ve a vested curiosity in sustaining and constructing the fame of a breaking-news e-newsletter, Fizz appears to extra intently resemble a campus-wide recreation of “phone,” which might typically change into a breeding floor for misinformation. In distinction, FoHo curated, selected and developed on the tales of most curiosity to the Stanford neighborhood to create its digests.
FoHo is just not the one student-run media outlet at Stanford that has ceased to exist. Most outstanding among the many relaxation was Stanford Politics, which was a useful supply of high-quality, impactful investigations that sadly petered out in 2021. Their protection was broad and distinctive in focus, starting from an investigation into sorority life on campus to commentary on the Lebanese authorities to think-pieces on American felony justice reform. Stanford Politics items have been considerate, well-sourced and held to excessive requirements, fostering deep investigations into Stanford points and offering a platform for political discourse ranging past Stanford’s campus.
There was additionally the Stanford Sphere, a lesser-read however nonetheless rigorous publication whose left-wing editorials balanced out the Stanford Overview’s conservative slant. The Overview stays energetic and is in the present day’s most outstanding pupil publication after The Stanford Each day. Based in 1987 by Peter Thiel and Norman Guide, the Overview’s major output is op-eds, though it dabbles in information protection and satire.
Though the Overview doesn’t have as lengthy of a historical past as The Each day nor match its publishing quantity, the 2 papers play a vital position in facilitating campus discourse. The coexistence of the Overview’s and The Each day’s Opinions sections permits for extra spacious commentary on campus occasions. For example, the 2 shops have provided distinctive critiques on Hoover’s institutional choices and insurance policies.
The Overview additionally gives views that lack on-campus illustration, comparable to its commentary on final Spring’s Choose Duncan controversy, the place college students regularly interrupted a visitor speaker. Whereas none of The Each day’s writers opined concerning the concern, we applaud the Overview’s well timed place when different campus publications have been quieter. We imagine that the Overview injects an integral dose of contrarianism into predominantly-liberal campus discourse — one which challenges college students to query their current beliefs and study points by a brand new lens. Whereas we regularly differ from the conclusions and rhetoric of the Overview, the Overview’s contribution to the ideological variety of Stanford’s media system deserves our recognition.
Earlier than COVID, the variety of student-run media shops devoted to discovering tales created a wholesome symbiotic relationship in our campus information ecosystem. FoHo curated the juiciest tales by parsing by lots of of ideas from on-the-ground sources, which The Each day would typically examine and publish with correct info and verifiable sources. Stanford Politics printed long-term investigative initiatives and political commentary that went past the Stanford bubble. The Overview and the Stanford Sphere stuffed out the spectrum of concepts and beliefs on campus, prompting open discourse and debate. This vary of kinds and competitors for eyes stored extra Stanford neighborhood members extra knowledgeable, and always pushed publications to a better commonplace of timeliness, engagement and influence.
And not using a vary of choices for all studying appetites, many Stanford college students have merely turned to Fizz for his or her information and leisure, the place there’s little to no authority, trusted sources, accountability, nor the flexibility to observe up on tales or make corrections in a uniform and clear means.
The Stanford Each day, the Stanford Overview and even Fizz can solely write, report, analyze and elicit a lot. Our attain and views are restricted. New shops, forming a extra vibrant Stanford press setting, will present extra boards of empowerment for all to take part in campus conversations. We wish to see extra completely different publications independently going after the reality, in order that as a neighborhood we acquire higher info sooner and keep away from bias. We wish to learn an array of well-developed, accountable opinions throughout the political spectrum. We wish to see publications in dialog, holding one another accountable and attaining better heights of pupil journalism by competitors. Most of all, we would like the whimsical, skeptical, curious spirit of Stanford to be enabled and elevated by our student-run publications, as they at all times have been. We sit up for seeing the ghosts of publications previous resurrected – or changed.