At a time when news outlets everywhere are hemorrhaging money and political apathy among young people has reached staggering levels, sociopolitical publications at several of America's elite universities are joining forces to combat these twin epidemics.
The recently-formed Alliance of Collegiate Editors (ACE), a consortium of the Columbia Political Review, Harvard Political Review, Penn Political Review and Stanford Review, aims to address the obstacles confronting college journalism through an unprecedented editorial and financial collaboration.
ACE is the brainchild of Bob Ma, the outgoing editor-in-chief of the Penn Political Review. According to Ma, the idea for the alliance first came during his tenure at PPR. After repeated requests for an interview with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg failed, Ma proposed a joint interview shared by several student publications. The mayor’s press secretary finally agreed. The experience, said Ma, alerted him to the potential of a full-time consortium of campus news outlets.
The alliance plans to advance its objectives in two primary ways. Editorially, ACE will conduct joint interviews with public policy figures across the country and coordinate cross-campus polls on topical issues. It will also, according to Mark Hay, editor-in-chief of the Columbia Political Review, facilitate “cross-pollinating content” by creating forums in print and online where writers and readers can discuss material from and with other member publications. On the publishing side, ACE will offer joint-advertising packages to organizations interested in targeting a nationwide audience of politically-attuned students, bringing in new revenue and saving the publications' staff much time and effort associated with attracting local advertisers.
Ma, the current Chair of ACE, believes the alliance’s efforts will help “reignite a passion for sociopolitical activism around college campuses that has been lacking in our generation.” He certainly hasn’t set his sights low. Ma hopes that ACE will eventually include all collegiate sociopolitical publications in the country. If it can achieve anything close to that lofty goal, it could mark a significant next step in college journalism.