Papers disappear, Tech Exec responds
The Tech is more than just newsprint
It is hard to say when a week ends and begins for The Tech. The paper is printed and distributed to campus on Thursdays. Our departments have their all-hands-on-deck organizational meetings for each edition on Sundays. Our staff stays up late on Tuesdays, laying out advertisements, arts articles, campus life pieces, opinion submissions, and sports write-ups. On Wednesdays, we stay up late editing, putting final touches on news articles and then adding them to the layout, and finally hoping everything is ready in time for things to go to press. On all the days in between, our photographers attend events capturing key moments, and our writers and editors are busy collecting information and crafting it into articles that aim to be truthful and easy to understand. There is never an idle day for a Tech staffer.
It’s easy to walk past stacks of The Tech each week, taking them for granted as a fixture of the campus landscape. Maybe you’re a loyal reader who reads through each article, or maybe an avid puzzler who finishes our crosswords and sudoku puzzles before class begins. Maybe you’re just in it for the movie reviews or news about campus residence halls. We sincerely appreciate your readership of The Tech. It is for readers like you, members of the MIT community and occasional campus visitors, that we put in these long hours to provide free newspapers each week.
No one joins The Tech because they are bored and looking for a way to kill time; no one at MIT adds an activity to their busy schedules under those conditions. We do it because we have a profound desire to serve the community, present and future, with an accurate, fair, and holistic record of the days we spend at the Institute.
This past Friday, more than 3,000 copies of The Tech disappeared from stands around campus, between early morning and the evening. This is highly unusual; stacks usually gradually deplete, with some leftover copies when new papers hit the stands the next week. When our team at The Tech realized that our latest edition had been taken under these suspicious circumstances, we felt sad, disheartened, and somewhat threatened. In the past, we’ve had copies stolen in this manner as a form of censorship, meant to suppress views and events presented in the paper. We hope that last week’s copies are not missing due to similar circumstances, in response to an erroneous headline in our article on Sheryl Sandberg.
This Friday, nearly half our distribution was taken, and this undermines The Tech’s mission of making timely news easily accessible to the MIT community.
We know that some on campus use old copies of The Tech for art projects and the like, though we don’t have any reason to believe these copies were taken for these reasons, it seems like a good time to let you know where we stand on the use of The Tech for these purposes. We don’t mind missing the odd copy or two for art projects. (We won’t even notice it.) We usually have old spare copies around our office that we can donate — we recently gave hundreds of old papers to the clay studio on the fourth floor of the student center, for example. We’d be happy to do the same for other groups if we are able to. Please send us an email and ask if you need newsprint for these types of projects.
We don’t have any leads on the whereabouts of our papers (an uncomfortable position for a newspaper, as you might imagine) so if you have any idea, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can even do so anonymously if you wish.