Who is The Tech and What Do We Stand For?

(or: musings on editorial practices and content policy)

In its current form, The Tech is fundamentally a student-run campus newspaper. This means we report on events that take place on and around Caltech through a distinctly Caltech lens. We strive to publish timely and exigent pieces about what’s going on (but only in a very small corner of the world). We also have been known to publish slightly less-Caltech-related content (namely reviews of media), although even then, I feel the best review will be one through a Caltech lens. Is this a topic the Caltech community cares about? Is it being written about in a Caltech specific way? Is the Tech the best place for it? All these questions are important; after all, while I might be interested in hearing your thoughts on the best pasta shapes or how much you love the little queers in your favorite new book “A Memory Called Empire”, I would take some convincing to publish articles about either of these topics. The Tech is not simply a broadcaster of all opinions that happen to come from Caltech students. All opinions are not created equal, and they should not be treated as such.

This brings us to the question of international news and more specifically, politics. After all, politics are often important to the members of the Caltech community, but this does not mean that The Tech should be a place for you to put all your opinions. While RFK’s brain worm or the Boeing whistleblowers might be interesting news, they are not exactly relevant to Caltech. Potentially if you had done original reporting on these topics, it would be worthwhile to publish, but until the time that someone submits novel reporting on a major world event, I think I can safely ignore that. So, if you aren’t doing original reporting, are you really going to be saying anything new? Now while I fully endorse you having opinions and even sharing opinions on these events, the Tech is just not the place for that.

The Tech is not a soapbox for you to declare your shower thoughts on the latest culture war, nor is it a bulletin board for your AI startup’s press releases (despite the drothes of them we receive by email). This is not to say I object to any opinion piece, merely that it ought to be related to Caltech in some manner.

For example, a mere rephrasing of reporting on student loan forgiveness is not newsworthy for The Tech. An article relating how student loan forgiveness would affect Caltech students or an opinion piece reflecting on your personal experiences with student loans at Caltech however would very much be in our purview.

Now if I’m being entirely honest, The Tech has published some stuff that I would rather we not have (if I’m being even more honest this includes some of my articles), but frankly we do not receive enough content to have the luxury of choice. This is not usually for lack of topics to write about but rather lack of reporters. It is in general easier to write low effort opinion articles or reviews than it is to track down sources to report on. So, if you find your opinion on a topic underrepresented, consider writing an article about it yourself. And if you disagree with this policy, feel free to write an article about that too!