The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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The Torch (@sju_torch) • Instagram photos and videos

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa
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Torch Photo / Anya Geiling
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Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson
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Isabella Acierno, Outreach Manager • April 29, 2024

Cast the First Stone

It is 3 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and my head weighs a thousand pounds.

I take a sip of my extra large coffee, rub my eyes and yawn.

“I can’t believe it’s so late,” I think to myself. “I cannot believe it is so late.”

A quick gaze around the room finds several other lost souls, staring down at endless pages of text. Trapped inside our cubicles, red pens flickering in our hands, we sit and read and read again. The black and white printer spews out long sheets of paper filled with more to read and we sit and read and sip.

Eventually we finish our work and go home to sleep for a few hours only to return and face the familiar criticisms.

Though it sounds like a cross between an Alfred Hitchcock movie and a George Orwell novel, the aforementioned activity has perhaps changed everything about the man I am today and perhaps the type of school St. John’s University is.

Each and every minute spent had significance, each and every misspelling and misplaced comma was a lesson learned and each and every night without sleep was made better the next morning when a student picked up a copy of the newspaper, The Torch, the official student newspaper of St. John’s University.

It may be shameless to state that for the past 81 years The Torch has been serving, protecting and helping to transform the St. John’s community but the evidence I have seen for the past three clearly helps my claim.

The editors of the paper have made it their job (unpaid of course) to inform the students about all pertinent information concerning our lives on campus. We are the watchdog, the advocate and the ally of each student.

The work that The Torch does is often mocked, slammed and very frequently ignored. However this does not change the fervor in which The Torch delivers an avenue for open and honest discourse, the spread of ideas, the announcement of new plans, the uncovering of scandals and the appropriate and timely condemnation of that which hurts us as students.

A college newspaper is meant to be a great tool for the student population, and in recent years The Torch has made great strides in strengthening itself to better fit that meaning.

We have established editorial guidelines with the school administration, in an effort to comment about certain controversial societal issues while still showing respect to the Catholic tradition of the University.

We have updated our photo, computer, and internet technology, increased our staff size, and completed a comprehensive design overhaul so that we can present a more visually appealing, professional paper to our audience.

We have began printing in color for the first time in The Torch’s history, a revolutionary move that many college papers cannot experience because of fiscal irresponsibility, lack of revenue or a bevy of other problems.

We have increased our distribution points and co-sponsored the College Readership Program which has brought free copies of USA Today and The New York Times to campus every single morning.

We have seen former editors move onto greener pastures, such as former Managing Editor Thomas Winegar, who is now attending The University of Notre Dame on near total scholarship working on both a law degree and an M.A in Philosophy. Former sports editor Joe Manniello received a full time position at Newsday, a daily paper where former Editor in Chief Jim Baumbach is now the beat writer for the New York Yankees.

In fact, last year’s Editor in Chief, Rose E. Gorman, balanced two jobs, an internship at Rolling Stone magazine, graduate level coursework, a boyfriend, and being The Torch’s first in command.

Few rival the dedication of our editors and staff and though we are far from perfect we turn out a product 21 times a year with the sole purpose of serving our fellow students.

The list of our achievements is formidable even if it is unknown to most. Instead of patting ourselves on the back, The Torch uses its pages to laud the acts of every St. John’s student. You can read about everything from the national awards our pharmacy students win, to the talent of our ace closer, newly minted Boston Red Sox pitcher Craig Hansen (it really is a damn shame that he had to get drafted by them).

In between the inside jokes, the 2 a.m. coffee runs to Dunkin Donuts, the debates, arguments and fist fights, there is a concerted lack of apathy with The Torch.

We care when Governor Pataki plans to cut the TAP program and we think everyone should know about it.

We care when textbooks are more expensive at our bookstore, food is more expensive at our cafeteria and racism is rampant on our Staten Island campus.

The students should know that St. John’s sent a delegation of students up to Albany to combat financial aid cuts. They should read about the University switching bookstore control from Barnes and Noble to the Follett Corporation and changing food service providers from Aramark to Sodexho. They should be aware when a Multicultural Advisory Committee is set up to tackle our problems with racism.

That is what we do, that is our function as a college newspaper.

We are the watchdog, the advocate and the ally of each student. If I have failed to convince you, pick up a copy every Wednesday and let the paper do the work.

I’ll probably be sleeping.

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