The Llama Ledger Gets Creative and Personal

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by Rachel Feltman

Simon's Rock is a school full of unique interpretations of typical college life, and the school newspaper is no exception. The Llama Ledger has spent several years in flux, moving to an online format in 2001 and then disappearing and reappearing more than once without much explanation.

What makes the Llama Ledger special, explains editor Abigail Nehring, a Simon's Rock Senior, are some of the same qualities that make it so difficult to maintain from year to year. The small staff and lack of available breaking news stories on campus require the publication to be more creative and personal in choosing its stories.

“Although a lot of college newspapers focus on re-creating the 'real' experience of reporting for staff members,” Nehring says, “I see the Ledger primarily as a forum for discussion addressed specifically to this community, a goal which forces us to deal with ethical questions that many journalists don't deal with until much later in their careers.”

Nehring cites controversial stories like a recent change in campus smoking policy as examples of why the Ledger is so important at a school as intimate as Simon's Rock.

“Although it's not hard to learn what's going on at Simon's Rock through word of mouth,” she admits, “the Ledger can offer clarification to what otherwise turns into a large rumor mill. When community council was discussing the campus smoking policy, we were at the meetings reporting on what was being said.”

But serving the community this well isn't always an easy task.

“For anyone who wants a case study in how complex things can get when you try to bring clarification to divisive issues, just join the Llama Ledger staff for a week. In that sense, running a paper on such a small campus takes an incredible amount of courage and willingness to publish things your friends might not agree with 100 percent.”

Next year's editor will be decided on soon, and Nehring and the rest of the staff hope to see the paper continue to grow and change. As with all activities on campus, The Llama Ledger brings together a diverse, enthusiastic group of students and unites them with a common interest--in this case, bringing the news of the day to campus, and giving all students at Simon's Rock the chance to be heard.