Fear of cruel consequences keeps editor aware of content

I’ve heard many complaints about The Gannon Knight in my six months as editor-in-chief – we don’t use our space efficiently, we don’t publish juicy enough stories, the delivery times can be unpredictable – and I understand that these complaints, along with a plethora of other undesirable things, come with the job.

The challenges in life are what keep us all coming back, no?

But I heard one complaint recently that I would like to address, not because I think the unnamed naysayers are wrong, but because I think readers would benefit from knowing how this all works, at least for me.

Some readers would like the columnists to write about more sensitive topics on the perspectives pages (e.g., social issues and politics).

I can’t speak for the rest of the Knight staff, but I have a valid reason for writing about the topics I choose for my perspectives pieces.

I don’t like to put myself out on a limb – tiptoeing close to the line – for my own cause. If I’m going to get in trouble, I’m going to do it for a person, institution or idea that I love, and this includes The Knight.

While I will gladly chase a story until I’ve run the sources dry, and run the best quotes strong and bold, I will not write a column based purely on my own views that might ultimately get me a slap on the wrist. For me, it’s not worth the effort.

I don’t like to be told no. I also don’t like to be wrong. In fact, I never have been wrong in my entire life.

So if I think authority is going to have a problem with what I want to say, I’m not going to say it. Essentially, I am the type of person I hate when it comes to writing stories. I will take the leap for the greater good, but not for myself.

I do something similar when I’m working in the music field, with my band at church. I play the flute as a solo instrument, but I am also valued as a vocalist. I have actually been driven to tears, though, because someone complimented my singing voice.

I don’t really like to be heard when the music is coming from something that is fully mine – my voice. But I will play my flute – an instrument in my control – to my heart’s content, and graciously accept any and all compliments I receive.

It’s like I think the instrument is doing the real work, even though that’s a foolish concept.

The same goes for my work at The Knight – I see my perspectives columns as my direct line to the reader; there’s no interface from any kind of source, which scares me. So I often choose to write lightheartedly, and use things like TV and Disney World to mask any kind of pure opinion in my words.

When you attend a private, Catholic university, you are expected to avoid taking a position that counters the university’s mission and values.

I don’t think I could ever write something so profoundly anti-Gannon that I’d get into deep trouble (e.g., fired), but I’d be lying if I said the thought had never crossed my mind.

So will you continue to see columns about TV shows, the weather and Christine’s cat? (I don’t know who wouldn’t want to read about Christine’s cat; he is the cutest thing I have ever seen.) Probably.

But it’s not because I don’t care and I don’t have opinions; it’s because I like what I’m doing here, and I don’t want to be told I can’t do it anymore.

Even if rationally I know that’s not going to happen, just the fact that it could will deter me from completely letting loose.

I may have the voice, but I will never agree to sing the solo.

 

KELLY MORELAND

[email protected]