Letter To Our Readers: An Accurate Advocate Portrait

Dear readers,

Seems ol’ Steve Schultz has jumped ship – or magically turned into a 20-something-year-old woman, with zero resemblance. Either way, if you expect me/her to land this thing, you’re gonna have to kindly fasten your seatbelts; we’re in for a bumpy ride.

Hi. I’m Stevie Beisswanger ::awkward handshake while you question the legitimacy of my last name:: Yep, that’s B-e-i double-s wanger, as my mother taught me to say.

I started at The Advocate a mere two years ago, my first article an immersive quest called Calling All Demons, where I spat in the face of superstition, by publically ducking under ladders, shamefully stepping on some graves, and failingly performing a Ouija seance. Sadly, there’s more to that story.

Fast forward to now and you wouldn’t believe all my Advocate hats, having rapidly graduated from intern to staff writer, to senior writer, to associate editor, to managing editor, and to this: editor-in-chief, meanwhile juggling a part-time career as a mental health professional. Toot, toot. (Gross.)

My journey with The Advocate thus far has been one of stilted, symbiotic bloom. I’ve seen many faces lost to the meatgrinder, while others flourished into insightful and integritous, investigative reporters. Here, we’ve built a candid culture, often arguing over tater tots and sweet potato fries before divulging into our crucial concerns for the community. 

My colleagues are colorful, sacrificial people – none of them here for our meager means. Fact: the first thing we tell new recruits is the first thing that was told to me: the money sucks. We know that. That’s not why we’re here.

Our goals vary, but we meet in a middle-zone of compassion for our community, it’s multifarious pockets and wholesome evolution. At the same time, we champion voice and individuality – which is why we welcome the satire of Associate Editor Johnny Beaver, in his weekly As The State Turns and Backwash beats. Then there’s work like Maggie Anderson’s, which has you leaving the page feeling as though you’ve slipped on the shoes, or walked the earth of her subjects. 

I could say a million amazing things about each and every Advocate staff member – but I fear negativity in recent news and media has painted us under an ugly light. My issue being, no one’s asked us for our perspectives.

I can’t speak on the behalf of all Advocate staff, but it is with their approval that I write you this message (as shown by their signatures below). 

Don’t get me wrong, we’re not without our flaws. Organizing this paper is like trying to lasso a dragon. Old cultures of chaos are hard to crumble, and everyone’s already at full capacity. Then there’s the matter of remodeling…

While in flux, I hope you know how hard we’re working. To become the paper we know you all deserve. 

To illustrate, we’ve put on various events for the community since the new year, including a post-inaugural comedy night, a poetry open mic night, bimonthly storytelling nights, and roundtables where we’ve welcomed the community’s feedback and criticism. We’ve arranged field trips to promote local businesses and internal team building, publishing our experiences. Last, we ventured to the barely trodden canyons of the cascade foothills by guidance of local facilitators, Cascadia Expeditions. Beyond incredible.

We organized a production schedule for annual special issues, reserving space for coveted editions like our fall restaurant guide and summer outdoors issue. We’ve left space in-between for deeper alternative news and research. Examples are some of this year’s features, illuminating campus sexual assault, cultural appropriation, homelessness, and political activism.

We’ve outlined our values and published them on our website, to stand as standards of conduct for our content and writers. These include risk and open-mindedness, social justice, environmental sustainability, and so much more. (Find them at http://www.corvallisadvocate.com/about-us/.)

Through this groundwork, and what’s to come, we at the Advocate will continue toward our goal of propelling the community forward, on a fair and positive trajectory. Sometimes, imperfectly so. We hope – through our leaps and blunders – that the community can offer their constructive criticism. So that we can all relate, debate, and evolve.

Stevie Beisswanger, Editor-in-Chief