Sometimes student newspapers have to write filler articles like this one

In Opinion
A blank newspaper meant to represent the need for filler content sometimes.
(Tracy Hoang / Daily Titan)

This article is filler. You probably won’t read past this sentence now that you know, but I don’t really care. I’m not writing this for you, I’m writing this because we ran out of content and have to fill space.

Filling space is not a unique problem to this student newspaper, even though it’s one of the few daily student papers still kicking around the country. This has been a problem for as long as newspapers have existed, because of the constraints of print.

Sometimes at a newspaper run by still-learning communications students, writers won’t have time to create enough publishable content and will have to come up with some filler like this in order to avoid having empty, plain, blank paper take this spot.

So why not just leave a blank space you ask? Well, the simple answer is we can’t. You see, our stipends and scholarships we get for the semester depend on revenue from the print ads you see in this paper. Our ability to print a paper four times a week while remaining independent from — and therefore uninfluenced by — the university also depends on these funds, so we can’t just leave this page blank.

This need to fill space is why the beautiful, not-unflattering-at-all photo of me you see above is larger than the photos of our authors normally are, because it allows me to write fewer words.

(The above reference won’t make any sense at all online, where we don’t post photos of the authors in the article, but hey, it and this explanation allowed me to knock out a few more words to hit my word count).

There are tons of benefits to being a daily student paper. It allows students at Cal State Fullerton to experience the thrill of working at a daily paper, of being a part of the living history of the university and the surrounding area, while getting tons of clips for their resume along the way.

However, articles like this are the downside of remaining daily. There is a grind to producing that much content editors just aren’t going to be able to get past. This could be due to class obligations, not finding enough news around campus or Orange County, or not enough writers to cover all of it.

Sometimes, we just don’t have enough, so we’ll have to pick a random event to write about or run a backup story to avoid running either a house ad or just leaving a blank hole in the paper.

One could argue that either of those options would be more valuable than this little exercise in meta, self-examination of print process, but it’s easier to argue that posing that hypothetical will allow me to get closer to my word requirement for this piece, so I wouldn’t be mad if some hypothetical straw man did say that.

I can’t be mad though, because I just hit my word count and saved us from a blank space. If you read this far, thanks Mom. I appreciate you.

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