Life isn’t easy for the average Wesleying contributor. Serving up over 3,000 page views daily to students, professors, staff, Middletown residents, alumni, news organizations, and countless other groups across the nation and world, Wesleying is in a unique and sometimes difficult position. We influence campus and city opinion, keep students informed about the world around them (both within the bubble and beyond), and aim to keep posting a steady stream of interesting, informative, and fun content that reflects the best that we, the students of Wesleyan, have to offer.
And as you can imagine, that’s not always an easy task.
You, our readers, have always been vocal in your criticism of the parts of Wesleying with which you’ve taken issue. Our categorization of posts, the titles of our entries, our love affair with MGMT and fascination with LOLcats, and disagreeable content (to name just a few) have all caught complaints. And we take your concerns seriously. So in this, the first of an occasional series of entries detailing what makes Wesleying tick, I’m going to address one of the issues that has caused a fair bit of backlash at Wesleying: the heading “In the Middle” that I started using to denote entries pertaining specifically to Middletown.
Just like this entry, you’ve no doubt noticed that some entries on Wesleying start with a specific heading (“Behind the Blog”, for example). Now, I wasn’t one to think that such a thing would cause any consternation among our readers, but apparently some have taken issue with the heading “In the Middle”. For instance, one of the more reasoned commentators has said:
While I think it’s good to pay attention to Middletown events, I feel like giving them the special “in the middle” title does more to separate ourselves from the town rather than keep up involved. I think it should be posted as regular Wesleyan news
If you’re still reading, you are no doubt wondering why I use the heading “In the Middle” for Middletown events. Let the truth be heard:
Anonymous @ 1:15: While I respect your position, I think you’re entirely wrong. Things happening in Middletown are not “regular Wesleyan news” items; rather, they are something different: Middletown news items. I think it’s important to differentiate the two, for two important purposes.
First, the In the Middle heading serves immediately to identify the type of news being posted. It allows readers to easily identify important issues in Middletown, as opposed to the litany of YouTube videos, campus event notices, and opinion pieces (which are all, true, very valuable) that we otherwise post on Wesleying.
Second, this immediate identification and, yes, differentiation, is important precisely because student interest in Middletown is so sorely lacking. The heading points out in a very clear way that it’s not just Wesleyan we should be concerned about; that we are literally living “in the middle” between the bubble-life and the permanent residents of the City of Middletown. And as such, we are not only stakeholders in the politics of the city, but also have a responsibility to give back to the greater community of which we’re a part.
If you could prove that the heading on an article has the tangible effect of separating student opinion from supporting Middletown issues, then maybe we should talk. But judging by the dearth of students I saw at such an important meeting (on the Army’s plans), I don’t think it’s three words that are separating students from Middletown. While your claim might make an interesting theory, you need to bring it out of the realm of concept and actually prove it before I give it any weight.
I think the “In the Middle” heading is a valuable method of denoting news pertaining to specifically to Middletown. It’s a way of organizing information, just like how newspapers separate news into Local, World, Sports, Entertainment, and so forth. It’s organized, it’s straightforward, and it helps those interested in Middletown news find it more readily.
So what do you think? The heading’s not going anywhere, but I realize your thoughts on the heading aren’t, either. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions, not just on this topic but on Wesleying in general.