College sex column goes too far
Student publications need to be aware of standards. Towson University’s newspaper, The Towerlight, is facing a big controversy because of a columnist who writes under the pen name ‘Lux.’
Lux writes the newspaper’s sex column, ‘The Bed Post.’
Articles in ‘The Bed Post’ deal with topics from phone sex to random hookups, and almost always revert to the subject of masturbation.’
After weeks of criticism about the content of the sex column, the editor in chief was forced to resign from the newspaper. The result of all the controversy and resignation: the newspaper’s presence on the Towson campus has increased.
Writing for a college newspaper is difficult. Not simply because students are juggling jobs, school and deadlines, but because for the first time, writers are dealing with the struggle of writing for a real audience.
The fact that people other than professors are reading their work changes everything about how they write and what they write about.’
This is where the importance of knowing your audience comes in, especially when it comes to writing the sex column in the opinion section.’
In the opinion section, writers take stances on topics that they may not have formed an outlook about. Then they try to make it applicable to the students and faculty.
The problem with this method is that among the readers, some will care deeply about that issue.’
If a writer has never written for an audience before, it is impossible to gauge exactly how many people care about that topic, which ultimately changes that writer’s perspective.
Then a subject comes along that the writer is passionate about. The writer doesn’t know how many people will find their opinion to be offensive.’
This becomes exceptionally difficult when the subject is sex, because the simple fact that a sex column exists is offensive to some people.’
This doesn’t mean that the writer should pander to the whole readership; it means that they should be careful about it.
‘ Writers should be willing to put their names at the top of their stories and stand by what they have written.’
If a writer is too scared or embarrassed to put their name on an article, then they should not be writing it anonymously.
The writer for The Towerlight opted to use a pen name, meaning that even they found their work to be in bad taste.’
If a writer does not sign their work in order to prevent a backlash, it shows a great irresponsibility of not knowing their own audience. ‘
Writers need to show more respect to their audience.’
Without respect, authoritative figures step in to regulate what should be a completely student-run publication.