Editor’s Note: Stanford’s Investigative News Powerhouse

Since its founding in 1987, The Stanford Review has had a number of iterations: some volumes gained such notoriety that led to mass burnings of Review newspapers and distribution racks in garbage cans.  Others had a philosophical bent.  Still others preferred focusing on national and international news.

Allow me to introduce a new iteration: Stanford’s investigative news powerhouse.

When you want to catch up on international news, you go to The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal.  To find out the latest in D.C., you check out The Washington Post, Real Clear Politics, or Politico.   But when you want to find out what’s really going on behind the scenes at Stanford University, start turning to The Stanford Review.  Because we publish every other week, the Review has the unique opportunity to take the time to put together investigative stories at Stanford, something no other publication can do.

And we’ve been doing it, too.  We’ve put together what I consider to be the best news team on campus.  We broke stories no one else covered, including the rebranding of the OSA (SAL), accusations flying back and forth over an alleged act of intolerance, The Stanford Daily’s financial problems, and the ASSU Executives’ legislative liaison resigning to protest unethical behavior, to name a few.  Maybe most notably, we went through old financial records to uncover how two former ASSU Executives spent $13,000 from student funds on personal food and gas.

We’ve received a number of compliments for our work as well, and some from unlikely places.  One commenter on our website wrote, “As someone that would be considered far left on most issues, I have to say that you guys are doing a good job in covering issues like student government corruption, ‘the race card’ being played in situations where it’s not appropriate, and other campus issues.”

Undoubtedly, some will still refuse to pick up the Review because of its traditionally conservative lean, regardless of the content inside.  That would be an unfortunate mistake.

Even more than publish a conservative perspective, the Review has sought to publish alternative perspectives.  Our highest mission at the Review is to inform students through original, investigative news and features, and to spark and stimulate campus discussion through opinions you might not hear every day.  It just so happens that “conservative” means “alternative” on a college campus in the San Francisco Bay Area.

But the converse, that “alternative” means “conservative,” isn’t exclusively true.  While alternative can mean conservative, it can also mean libertarian, moderate (definitely alternative in the Bay Area), populist, classic liberal, or even some who are straight up liberal on national political issues.  In fact, some of our most dedicated staff members consider themselves moderate or liberal.

With the Review’s increasing focus on campus reporting, liberals who take a strong interest in student life and administration policy – and demand exposing policies that are unfair or inefficient – should feel “alternative” by our definition of the word.  These liberals are not only welcome at the Review, they will find friends and allies.

Needless to say, the Review’s tradition of rocking the boat by pushing alternative perspectives fits in well with our campus investigative news mantra.  For us, this is all about starting a discussion to make a better Stanford, what’s egregious and what should be encouraged.

To do this, we offer two things in every issue: reporting campus stories and campus commentary from angles you might not otherwise hear.  In fact, our alternative political inclinations are a benefit: we find and expose happenings on campus that the mainstream may not even deem newsworthy.  Agree with us or not, we hope you let us challenge you and get you talking.

Consider this issue alone.  Our campus investigative news takes us to the Daily asking for more money from the ASSU in face of a unique financial situation, and how Y2E2, the Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, built as a model for energy efficiency, failed to meet its own initial efficiency standards.  In Opinion, one of our columnists points to Stanford Students for Life’s decision to use religion-neutral grave markers in a display to show that you don’t need to be religious to be pro-life.  In Features, we examine objectivism on campus and political perceptions of Stanford through tour guides.

So if you really want the inside scoop on Stanford and not get the same information presented from the same perspective, get in the habit of looking through the Review.  And after you’ve done that, join the discussion.  Besides our ability to deliver real campus news, the new volume will take interaction to a new level.  Don’t hesitate to contact us to submit a guest op-ed or letter to the editor, from any perspective.  We’d love to add it to the dialogue, and plan to publish them regularly.

It’s time to start that discussion for a better Stanford.

— Tim Ford, Editor-in-Chief

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