College Council (CC) voted to provide $850 for the production of the real deal, a student-initiated news and opinions publication, which was created this year. The budget, which passed 19-4-2, will allow the new paper to print two more issues.
Co-founder of the real deal Phil Groth ’00 proposed a budget of $1624 to CC to cover the costs of printing four issues. CC voted to amend the budget, granting funding for a two-issue trial run and then giving the real deal the option of applying for more funds.
Over the course of the funding discussion, members of CC pointed out that the other two campus news publications, The Williams Record and The Free Press, do not receive any funding from either CC or the College. Groth said that due to the large startup costs involved in creating a publication of this frequency, funding will be necessary in the initial stages of the publication. The staff plans to seek regular advertisers to supplement and eventually replace CC’s funding, ultimately becoming self-sufficient and autonomous.
According to Groth, the purpose of the real deal is “to create a totally open forum for the discussion of issues pertaining to the Williams community.”
Inspired by their experience in their class, PSCI 335: “The Public Sphere,” a group of students conceived of the real deal to provide a new forum for opinions, which they felt would be beneficial for the Williams community.
When Groth discussed his idea with associate professor of political science and Gaudino Scholar Mark T. Reinhardt, Reinhardt offered money from the Gaudino Fund to cover startup costs and the real deal was born. The Gaudino Fund is named for the late Williams professor Robert Gaudino. It was established to sponsor groundbreaking endeavors that honor the spirit of his provocative teaching method. Reinhardt saw the funding of the real deal as a fitting use for the fund because both “try to stir up educational alternatives.”
According to the real deal editor Jen Dolloff ’01, the publication will provide a forum for the discussion of issues that students feel compelled to write about rather than covering news on campus.
“There is definitely a need for a new voice,” Dolloff said. “There are a lot of people who have things to say. This is an outlet for them to say it, hopefully one that is a little bit more willing to go out on a limb, and willing to push people’s buttons. A central concept of the paper’s ‘philosophy’ is to aggressively cover stories in depth.”
The real deal does not propose to replace the existing news publications but to make up for what it sees as a lack of investigative reporting on campus.
“[The real deal can be seen] as another outlet, which can help promote discussion and touch upon issues that have not been investigated enough,” co-founder Stefan Hwang ’00 said.
“Some issues that I believe need to be addressed are the lack of campus discourse, the fear of questioning and the need to get a more accurate overall representation of the Williams College community…This statement relates more towards a personal view of how I see the ‘actual physical creation’ of this publication as a step in a positive direction. As the real deal is still in its early stages of development, it will no doubt evolve and grow.”
The first issue of the real deal was published Dec. 9, 1999. The members of the staff distributed the 500 copies of the paper to students as they walked to classes. Groth said that the cost of producing the first issue was about $180. CC recognized the real deal on January 5.
The next issue of the real deal is slated to come out during Winter Study.
Groth expressed his hopes for the new publication: “Sometimes it seems that people at Williams are so concerned with making sure that we are well-liked that discussion about important issues is avoided. We hope to create something that is not hung up on avoiding confrontation. I hope people [get angry] and write in response. I hope that the real deal will help give people something to talk about.”