The Medium (Rutgers)
|Type||Weekly student paper|
|Headquarters||New Brunswick, NJ 08901|
The Medium is the student-run weekly entertainment and comedy newspaper at Rutgers University. The paper refers to itself as "The Entertainment Weekly of Rutgers University."
During the 2000s, as a result of frequent attacks on their right to print offensive material, the editors and contributors of The Medium had turned the paper into a veritable exercise of their First Amendment Rights, often in ways that resulted in protests from the student body and pressure from the administration. Nearly all protests against The Medium have been largely ineffective because of the University's commitment to democracy.
The current version of The Medium is purely satire and humor based on events on the Rutgers University campus, current events, and popular culture.
The front pages of The Medium is the news section provides articles that are satire of news on the Rutgers University campus, current events, and popular culture. Usually these articles are twisted out of real occurrences, the normal exception being The Daily Medium issue where many of the articles may be completely false for the shock reaction of the readers.
The features section includes normally recurring content every week. Examples include a piece by the editor giving a humorous opinion or point of view on events on campus, a Student of the Week piece featuring students around campus, and the Cute Thing of the Week which shows images of cute things submitted by students.
The opinions section contains in-character and real student submitted opinion pieces commenting on current events and occurrences at the university. A popular feature of this page is the Point/Counterpoint which gives two views of things occurring simultaneously.
The arts section includes staff artist and student submitted comics and art pieces. People also submit images of graffiti found around the campus. Occasionally, a writer or editor may also review music or movies here.
In the personals section, anonymous messages are printed in the newspaper, classifieds style, allowing students to freely criticize Rutgers administration, other students and national establishments.
As just one example of the many, many times the Medium has been sued, the personals editor in 1991 altered a personal placed in the year's final edition. The original personal ("If you've been assigned to Room 104 in Lippincott next semster, please contact me at XXX") was modified (to "If you've been assigned to Room 104 in Lippincott next semester, we need to speak - I am HIV positive and perpetually flatulent. Please contact me at XXX"). The resulting suit, Edwards v. Rutgers, was dismissed after the paper agreed to run a front-page apology.
The Back Page
The newest revisions to the paper have been the replacement of the former What's Shakin' page, which during the early 2000s listed on-campus events such as underground concerts, comedy shows, and other events submitted by readers. As submissions to this section decreased, it took on a more variety style with the editor of the section having the freedom to carry the page out as they saw fit, making it similar to the Arts and Features sections at times.
The new page was initially named Wine & Lifestyle, but was later changed to The Back Page. It is distinguished from the features section by its presence of diversions such as puzzles and games. It also regularly contains faux-reviews of eateries (including the Rutgers dining halls), movies, and campus events. As a homage to the earlier What's Shakin' page, the Mini What's Shakin' section is mainly intended to promote the meetings of The Medium, but also pokes fun of other odd events occurring on campus.
History of The Medium
The Medium printed its first issue on September 1, 1970 as the campus newspaper of Livingston College. During the 1980s, the newspaper began to abandon the traditional news-gathering and reporting activities in favor of its current, satirical format. This was partly due to The Daily Targum becoming the official college daily newspaper across all of the New Brunswick/Piscataway campuses.
Although at one time it stood as standard practice, The Medium no longer prints pornographic material. This has come at the request of advisors, and with mixed feelings from past editors and current readers.
The paper is produced weekly throughout the academic year, and distributed on the Rutgers campuses. In addition, the organization makes the paper available as a PDF on their website. In addition to the regular paper, throughout the year there are special issues and features:
- Meet The Medium: Published early in each semester, this special feature introduces the editorial staff and staff writers.
- Themed Issue: There is usually one theme issue in a given semester in which all of the articles and artwork corresponds to a particular theme. For example, a kindergarten issue where the content was written as if produced by children.
- Finale: The final issue of the semester is typically similar to a theme issue, but is usually longer (12 pages as opposed to 4). The end of fall semester usually has a special holiday section, and the end of spring usually features obituaries for graduating staff and some type of summer feature.
- The Daily Medium: On the week of April Fool's Day, the staff of the paper distribute a parody of The Daily Targum called The Daily Medium. It is typically designed to visually look like The Daily Targum, and features articles written to mimic the writing style and tone of well known Targum writers.
- Obituaries: At the end of the year, obituaries are written for graduating staff.
- Christopher McCulloch - creator of The Venture Bros.
- Paul Mulshine - political columnist for The Star-Ledger