We here at the Press feel a special kinship to Generation. Founded under similar circumstances at the University at Buffalo, five years after the Press, the weekly magazine shares the same spirit of alternative journalism; The same pirate ethos. Also, senior staffer and rabble-rouser Jonathan Singer (the man who drew our attention to the current situation to begin with) is an alumnus of the weekly magazine, and has always talked highly of the publication—although he has mixed feelings towards the staff of his time.
So when we heard about Generation having its charter suspended, it was more than just an interest in one of print journalism’s many troubling situations. It was with a feeling of indirect camaraderie that we became so drawn to the story.
Nevertheless, we didn’t want to be biased in any direction, and our reporting—we hope—remains objective and fair. But, as we researched the story more and more, we noticed a couple things. The first is that the personals are fucking hilarious. After getting over the initial shock of some of them, they are actually quite humorous and well presented. Many of us spent hours going through old issues on their website, just to read the personals. We provide but a humble homage to them, next to the article in question. Also, we modified our masthead in solidarity with our journalistic brethren.
The second thing we’ve noticed is that not much has changed for Generation over the years—at least, the years available on the website (2000-present). The magazine has remained fairly consistent, and has kept a pretty high standard of quality. Like any good alternative college publication, Generation has a good balance of hard-hitting journalism and humor that make it entertaining. It’s more of a literary magazine, so not every story needs to be Pulitzer Prize winning, but the features are generally in-depth and well written.
So why did Sub Board I, Generation’s owner and publisher, suspend its charter? Why did they go about hiring some jerk against the editorial board’s will? Joshua Boston doesn’t represent the 25-year-old spirit of the magazine—and, indeed, has every intention of undoing many of its traditions, including possibly its name. Generation has editorial autonomy, which is supposed to protect them from this exact sort of thing.
Without getting into the legality of Sub Board’s actions (the Student Press Law Center never got back to us in time), the ethics of this action are extremely questionable. Robert Pape (Sub Board VP) and Boston have both said that it’s a decline in the magazine’s journalistic integrity, but we fail to see this. Boston insultingly listed a couple articles which were legitimate features about raising money for charity and a scandal within UB’s student government. Pape, on the other hand, has called Editor-in-Chief Andrew Blake’s leadership into question. Ignoring the fact that there is no substantial evidence of this, and the fact that the personals—the supposed reason Blake is a “bad leader”—are a popular tradition that’s been around for years, is this a good enough reason to prevent the magazine from making their own decision about next semester’s leadership? Is this a good enough reason to prevent Generation’s editors from exercising their given “editorial autonomy”? The board of directors of Sub Board seem to think so.
We must respectfully disagree.
Generation, we stand in solidarity with you. We can only hope you come out of this unscathed. Forever truly, The Stony Brook Press.