Community Pages Editorial: Community-first

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For many students, Lehigh is known as their home-away-from-home. We made the decision to spend at least four years here, not just to learn about our subject of choice, but to also gain a better understanding of the world in general. 

When students chose Lehigh, they chose Bethlehem, a city with a robust history, and the greater Lehigh Valley as well. The impact that we have on our community is not something to take lightly. 

Throughout The Brown and White’s history, we have reported on the community and the relationship between Bethlehem and Lehigh University. 

Stories that once reported on the divide between the city and university now highlight partnerships and collaboration, but there is still more work that needs to be done. 

While Lehigh and the City of Bethlehem have made great strides to connect students with the Bethlehem community, such as tutoring at local schools, the South Side Initiative and construction projects, it would be misleading to act as though the university’s effects on the community have been solely positive. 

The Brown and White staff acknowledges our role in accurately portraying the Bethlehem community through our reporting, and the monthly community pages issue will provide the space needed for these stories to come to life. 

We hope that readers will engage with our community engagement department in order to best represent all voices within the community for future issues. 

The idea for this special section initially sparked following our collaboration with the Community Conversations About Race planning committee to host Media Representation of Marginalized Communities: A conversation on community-first reporting at Lehigh University with The Brown and White

This event gave space for community members, students, alumni, faculty, etc. to come together and speak on their experiences as well as discuss work that needs to be done in order to better connect the Bethlehem and Lehigh University communities. 

Through this discussion, we were able to further unpack the impact that the media has on the communities in which they report. 

Following the event, it was clear that we had to broaden our publication’s reach into parts of the community that we do not adequately cover. 

Both the Lehigh University and Bethlehem communities are home to a diverse population. We are diverse in more ways than one, and as a news outlet, it is critical that we represent each community within Bethlehem to the best of our ability. 

According to the definition of media representation, underrepresented groups of people are often overlooked in the news or simply tokenized to check a box. 

The community section is dedicated to represent organizations, leaders and community members, while also delving deeper into community issues that may be overlooked in the standard news cycle. 

The Brown and White’s historic slogan is “All the Lehigh News First.” As we continue to provide reliable news coverage for our community, we also commit to prioritizing community-first reporting through the launch of this edition. 

We know that the stories within these pages will bring all that Bethlehem has to offer to life. If you are interested in writing on a community issue, or simply sharing a personal story related to Bethlehem, please contact the community engagement team. We look forward to connecting with you and building bridges through stories.

If you would like to write a column piece for the monthly community pages issue, please contact Megan Brubaker, the community editorial pages editor at [email protected].

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