Greetings and welcome to Laurier Brantford! If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re an incoming student. This edition of the Sputnik has been designed especially for you, in the hopes that we can make some introductions and address some of the anxious questions you might have about (y)our school and (y)our city. We’ve dressed this issue as a survival guide, to give you the benefit of our experience and knowledge as current students of Laurier Brantford with the expectation that you’ll arrive in September a little more prepared and a little more excited.

First, I want to introduce you to the Sputnik.

The Sputnik is an editorially independent student newspaper. Let me reiterate that: an editorially independent newspaper. That means that while we operate in cooperation with the university via contractual obligation, what we print is entirely independent of what the university, or any other organization for that matter, might want us to print. We have complete freedom to write about whatever we like, unlike many high school newspapers.

But while we are free to explore virtually any topic, we are also bound by law and by principle. We consider ourselves journalists and not “student journalists,” which I think insults the importance of the responsibility we carry. We avoid printing slanderous or libelous content; we research our information to confirm that it is sound and accurate; and we take every measure to ensure we are telling fair and balanced stories. We take all of this very seriously.

I think that the expectation of a student-run newspaper is for it to be amateurish and similar to a school newsletter, but that’s just not the case with the Sputnik, our sister publication in Waterloo, the Cord, and many other university publications across Canada. We belong to a collective of more than eighty university student newspapers nationwide that employ talented and dedicated journalists who cover all sorts of campus news, break huge stories, and embrace emerging forms of journalism and media. You can expect all of that and more from the Sputnik.

We’re constantly evolving to meet higher and higher standards. This is our eleventh year in operation and since 1999, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds. What used to be a black and white, 8.5 x 11 photocopied paper run by a motley crew is now a professionally printed newspaper put together bi-weekly by an organized crew of trained editors, writers and photographers. We’ve got distribution points all over the downtown core; we’ve got a sweet office with fancy computers, comfy couches and a funky whiteboard; we’ve got a website (thesputnik.ca) that is undergoing constant upgrades and rethinking; and most importantly, we are now a widely-known and respected publication that competes with two other professional news organizations here in Brantford. Maybe I’m not the most unbiased person to say so, but I think that’s pretty impressive.

So, why am I telling you all of this? Two reasons: I want you to get used to seeing this paper. Pick up a new edition every other Wednesday and read it in class or in a coffee shop or in the park or on your couch. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse of the campus and the city, this is your go-to publication.

And the other reason? I want you to work for us. We’ll be hiring writers and photographers this September, starting in Orientation Week. We’ll interview you, hire you, train you and put you to work writing stories and snapping photos. You’ll belong to one of the fastest growing, most independent and tightly-knit groups on campus. You’ll see your name in print, you’ll gain skills that your profs just don’t have the time to teach you in class and you’ll make a ton of new friends almost instantly. Joining the Sputnik team is the best way to get to know this campus, this city and beyond.

If you have any questions whatsoever that just can’t wait until September, shoot me an email at editor@thesputnik.ca. In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer with a smile on your face, knowing that the best times of your life are just about to begin. Welcome to Laurier Brantford.

Scott Blacklock
Editor-in-chief,
The Sputnik