By Lily Barnette
On February 18, 2022, Ian Williamson, a newswriter at The Pinnacle, wrote an opinion piece featuring us, The Berea Torch. This editorial will be a response, and I encourage those to read his editorial here!
Almost everyone knows The Pinnacle on campus. Regardless of whether you read their articles or not, you know they exist as the student publication – an official publication held beneath the College. Contrastingly, we are not an official student organization, and we will never be an official student organization. Weeks ago, on February 3, 2022, Williamson asked Ülvi Gitaliyev and me why we had created The Berea Torch when The Pinnacle already existed. We expected this and stated that there are advantages and disadvantages to being underneath the thumb of the College. The Pinnacle gets funding. We do not. The Pinnacle has a standing reputation within the College, not having to build themselves up as The Berea Torch does. These are clear disadvantages to us, but we do not care.
The most significant advantage to being independent in our publications is the ability to speak about anything and everything, our tones included. When Williamson calls us “incendiary,” our tone is “accusative,” then I cannot help but smile. We are incendiary, and we are accusative, proudly so. You can be truthful and still have a sharp tongue when speaking about that horrible truth.
Recently, we published “Blisters on Your Hands and Food Thrown in Your Face: Interview with an Anonymous Student Worker at Dining.” There was a lot of discourse on that article in particular. Is it dramatized? Is it an accurate representation of the average experience of a student working in dining? I have no idea about either question. All I do know is what the student interviewed had to say about their experience; that is the truth.
The purpose of the formation of our interviews is to publish the words of the person we are interviewing, truly. We do not summarize it up neatly. We do not pick and choose quotes to make someone sound good or bad. We do not repackage it up and regurgitate it to influence how people feel about it. And that makes us incendiary and makes us accusatory. You do not create a change by being compliant. You do it by being defiant. Make some noise, and people will hopefully try to do something to change it.
I wrote “Environment Criminals in Little Blue Vests and Clunky Carts ~ A Message to Public Safety.” I marked it as anonymous so that Public Safety could not chase me down in their carts and run me over for dragging them through the mud, just like they did, and continue to do, I might add, with their cart tires. Williamson calls it “a vindictive tirade,” “childish,” and “petulant,” while also stating that he found it to be creative and cheeky. All I have to say is thank you. Satire was the focal point to emphasize they were making the campus look ugly. While this did not cause any change on campus, as we can all see… it brought some awareness to their driving.
Regarding the CCC article, as Williamson mentioned in his editorial, I cannot comment much as I did not write it. Though, I can state that Reverend Dr. Loretta Reynolds, Dean of the Chapel, thanked us for bringing the anti-abortion pamphlets to her attention. In this instance, our article brought change, and all pamphlets have since not appeared, to our knowledge, in the CCC Interfaith Prayer Books again.
The main aim of The Berea Torch is to create some change on this campus. I have often had professors close their doors and allow students to complain about the College. And so often, those complaints go unaddressed, unheard, and unresolved, with the professor looking dismayed and shaking their head sadly. I admit we are not the most professional publication. I also admit that our publications have some grammar mistakes, as Williamson painfully points out in his editorial while also simultaneously spelling Azerbaijan wrong in his description of Ülvi. This aspect does not dilute our message, though, of change.
I would even go as far as to say that we have brought a change to The Pinnacle already. We have noticed they now advertise in the same groups we do, a prime example being the Facebook group “Bereans Gone Wild: Cult Edition!” with them joining a few days after we did. We also noticed that they began to upload on their Instagram more often as we do. The Pinnacle had a large gap from November 26, 2021, with no posting, until recently when they have posted on February 8 and February 16, 2022.
All in all, The Berea Torch may seem like an explosive sensationalist publication, but we are here to stay! We look forward to seeing The Pinnacle grow, and we also wish them the best of luck in their future works! 🙂
UPDATE: The Azerbaijan typo has been corrected in the original article on The Pinnacle.