In the age of digital and cable news, the status of print journalism is
becoming increasingly irrelevant.
Newspapers are going out of business and some say that our future may be
devoid of the coarse material that produces 550 pounds of waste each year per paper ““ a horrible prospect that has journalists and those nostalgic about
holding paper deeply concerned.
Thankfully, USC’s own Daily
Trojan may have found a solution that could revive print journalism: complaint reporting. As the rag’s editor says, “People can find
the facts on the internet and overt opinion on television ““ what they want to
read are relatable, petty complaints in the form of passive aggressive
According to Daily Trojan
reporters, every article about campus issues must follow a specific format: first, a topic
introduction condenses facts into a grocery list that is easy to
process. Then, reporters quote random students
with opposing viewpoints that are thinly veiled, non-committal yet nevertheless
easy-to-spot criticisms of the stupidity of campus officials or establishment
in general that may or may not be the opinion of the paper itself.
“It’s really a way of making it seem like people care about campus
issues,” the editor said. “We are a
campus newspaper, but through complaint reporting we can make student protests
over bicycle regulations seem as consequential as say”¦ the protests in Egypt.”
Jeff Cruz, a junior Fine Arts major with a minor in International
Relations, is not sure if complaint reporting is the best method. “Sometimes it seems like I’m just reading a
whole bunch of people whining.” He
added, “Not all the time, just some of the time ““ but what do I know? I’m alright with it.”
Alicia Banks, an undecided freshman, thinks that maybe possibly the Daily Trojan might want to use their mouthpiece
to debate innovative wide-reaching ideas or illuminate more issues that really
matter to the campus and the broader community, saying she’s, “one to talk,”
and that she hopes no one thinks less of her for her silly comment.
Still, the fact remains that Daily
Trojan readership remains high ““ or at least students remove the papers from
their stands to extract syndicated crossword puzzles, gloss over quickly before class begins in half-hearted attempts of civic duty, or use as coffee coasters. Therefore, it stands to reason that city and
national papers should take the same complaint approach.
“It’s very easy for us to find complainers ““ just imagine how easy and
lucrative it’d be for the Los Angeles
Times if they shifted the bulk of their reporting to the thoughts of random,
cantankerous Angelenos on any given issue.”