Serious Editorial: The Empire State Tribune Has Lost Its Way

The Imperial Tribunal Editorial Board wrote this piece and submitted it for publishing to the Empire State Tribune around noon on Monday 5/3/2021 (World Press Freedom Day, no less.) They eventually decided that they would not publish our piece after multiple strong recommendations against it from Professor Glader, who was also on the email chain and objected to us publishing under a pseudonym. We had hoped the EST shared our desire for a healthy discourse of ideas in our student publication, but we were dismayed to find they did not share our goal.

The Empire State Tribune asked that we mention that the official decision lies with Paige Hagy, the new Editor-In-Chief for the upcoming school year, and Meg Capone, her predecessor. 

Editor’s Note (5/3/2021 at 4:24 PM): We have not and never will claim to be a legitimate newspaper. This entire paper is a work of satire (as noted on every page of this website, our Instagram, and our twitter accounts) and should be treated as such. This is our first serious work so far, and it has been marked as such.

We began publishing last September out of a love for The King’s College, its community, and, most of all, its mission. You may doubt these intentions and write us off as “trolls,” but satire has a long and storied history of cultural criticism for the better. King’s, of course, is not a totalitarian government nor are there any lives at stake. The truth, however, is always worth pursuing, especially on a college campus. Good satire should, by definition, be offensive to those in power, constantly rebuking oversteps and encouraging improvement. That is what The Imperial Tribunal has sought to do in our first year. 

In our pursuit of this goal, we have made fun of the Empire State Tribune on a few occasions, as expected for the only paper on campus. We had hoped our jests would be taken as suggestions for improvement, but instead, the EST has taken our criticisms as an attack on journalism itself. While we, as always, hoped our satirical criticism would lead to some reflection on their course, we decided that our most important critique of the EST should be discussed more seriously: The Empire State Tribune has lost its way.

For the last few years, the EST has made itself into a culture magazine that highlights the passions and interests of a tiny minority of students at King’s rather than a paper dedicated to the debates, ideas, and events that actually matter to students, staff, and faculty in the King’s community. For example, they have failed to cover the rise in violence against Asian and Pacific Islanders in New York City, Dr. Kreeft leaving the TKC faculty, or the extended contract battle the faculty is having with the TKC administration. If someone wants to read or write about wine tastings, reporting on national events, interviews of mediums or tarot card readers, there are a plethora of professional publications to turn to (or even the EST Magazine, which we love).

The King’s College community is alive with debate of all kinds, almost annoyingly so, but that is what makes this college unique. Whether it is an extended discussion with a professor after hours or a heated debate in an Albee living room that lasts until 3 AM, our campus and classrooms are a place of constant discussion of ideas that matter. That same spirit of relentless intellectual sharpening is not currently reflected in the EST, the sole non-satirical paper on campus.

We know the people who run the paper, and even though we have a friendly rivalry as of late, we believe in both their character and their ability. The EST can change for the better, and we hope they will seek to provide as much value to their readers as they do their staff in the upcoming years. The EST should be an asset to the entire King’s community, not just a place for the JCS majors to build up their resumes. While we understand their desire to want to report to a larger audience, they have neglected the campus that they live in. If a King’s student wants to keep updated on events and controversies at the college, they are forced to go to Twitter, or worse, us. 

The rest of the student body is perhaps as much to blame. Unfortunately, the EST has found itself in a self-perpetuating spiral that will take both sides to correct. As the EST loses prestige, less and less members of the community feel compelled to contribute. As fewer members of the community contribute, it becomes harder and harder for the EST to accomplish the very thing we demand. There is something that everyone in the community can do: write something for the EST that you believe matters to the community and submit it for consideration. Those who do not feel included in the EST’s normal set of views should make an extra effort to contribute.

Despite our strong criticism of the EST, they have published many relevant and controversial pieces in the past, a pattern we would love to see carried out into the future. They published this opinion, to their credit.* They have hosted a debate on the Reagan namesake issue from both sides. They published a petition decrying the Administration’s culling of final’s week and an opinion protesting the Administration ignoring an emergency petition from all 10 presidents, among other pieces of relevance and importance. We want to see a lot more of the same. 

In the interim, however, we believe this burden to be too heavy and important to lay in the hands of a single team on campus. We call on the student body of The King’s College to start an alternative publication dedicated to the free, open, and rigorous discussion of ideas and current events that are relevant to The King’s College community. Overwhelmed by student debt? Love the honor code? Think King’s professors assign too much work? Think utilitarianism gets a bad wrap? Is MCA actually easier? Questioning the campus mask mandate? Write about it! Did someone publish something you disagree with? Respond with a rebuttal! A team of committed editors will squeeze value out of every last sentence while discarding the chaff without passion. The TKC student body has an immense level of talent, enough to write, edit, and read three such publications.

The King’s College deserves an outlet that represents a diverse and relevant set of issues with intellectual and editorial rigor. We hope to see such an organization formed in the fall with the backing of the faculty.The Imperial Tribunal will continue on next year, alongside the Empire State Tribune and, hopefully, a new cousin formed along these lines. We would love to hear your thoughts at [email protected]. If you would like to contribute to The Imperial Tribunal, please consider applying for a position for next school year.

*They obviously did not publish this article, but we decided it was best left unedited.