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B4 The Pantagraph Sunday, February 23, 2003 www.pantagraph.com Truth-Seeker's Journal provides alternative voice FT JIT I t- l. a listen fH 3 Illinois State University student James Ford created the Truth-Seeker's Journal in the spring of 2001 to provide a voice for ISU's black community. Student-created newspaper gains popularity at ISU By Kelly Josephsen PANTAGRAPH STAFF NORMAL Opinions and ideas have always played a steady beat in James Ford's mind. But one day the Illinois State University senior got "sick of hearing myself talk." "I'm not one to complain about stuff for too long without doing something," he said. Confronted with his own actor-shut up policy, Ford chose to act.
And what he decided to do is pretty much doing the opposite of shutting up. His newspaper, the Truth-Seeker's Journal, is building a sturdy base as a campus alternative to mainstream media. Ford started the publication in spring 2001 to provide a voice for ISU's black community. He got a couple of like-minded friends to help write stories, looked around for advertising and donations, printed a debut issue and handed out the newsletter to passersby on the quad. But where many ideas that start with "a couple of friends" fade as classes and college life become too much to handle, the Journal has grown in every way.
Its circulation is rising. They have more than 400 readers a month. Local advertisers are taking notice. The staff is larger the 20 writers aren't just Ford's buddies anymore and Ford himself is becoming a more skilled editor. A lot on his mind Ford, a mass communication major from Rockford, wasn't just fighting classes and college life as he expanded the Journal.
He is newly engaged, planning a July wedding, and recently accepted his calling to the ministry. He plans to go to divinity -y -A. I try I "'Jv Tmuit ii i ii i 1 1 ri ii iiiiiikih n. tm The PantaqraphSTEPHANIE OBERLANDER Illinois State University senior James Ford, middle, led a staff meeting Saturday morning in the lounge of the Atkin-Colby residence hall to discuss the next upcoming Issue of the Truth-Seeker's Journal. The publication, which is aimed at giving a voice to ISU's black community, was created from Ford's own resources.
school in three years. A person needs energy to tackle so many life-changing events at once, and with dread-locked hair swinging and quick smile flashing, Ford has it. He doesn't see the hours of work he pours into the Journal as a sacrifice. "It's been a labor of love. My heart is in it, and it's something I'm adamant about," he said.
He admits it hasn't been easy. "It was very scary at first. I had no idea what type of reaction I'd receive. And it's always scary when you're venturing into areas that you are inexperienced in," he said. Ford had done a lot of writing and editing by the time he started the Journal, but had little idea of how the business end of a newspaper works.
Over the months, he hired an advertising staff and learned to negotiate printing contracts skills Ford said make him more well-rounded including as an editor. He cringes when he leafs through the first edition of the Journal. Right there, on the front page, is the typo: He's list- attitude he took when he started the Truth-Seeker's Journal. "Set aside complacency and timidity and really challenge yourself to do something new," he said. "Ask yourself, 'Why not? Why couldn't Written contributions, feedback and donations to the Truth-Seeker's Journal can be sent to: "I'm praying about that right now.
Nothing is really a success unless you leave a success. I want to come back 20 years from now and see the Truth Seeker still in existence." Ford's staff is mostly freshmen and sophomores, and he's been training them to run the paper and maintain its vision after he's gone. The best lesson Ford could teach might be the cornerstones of the paper are information, education, entertainment and culture. Each issue includes a poetry section, music review, book review, sports commentary, an advice column and information about campus events. Regular features helped the paper hit a stride, but Ford knows that could be interrupted by his graduation in May ed as editor-and-chief instead of editor-in-chief.
A small mistake, but Ford strives for perfection. He asks his staff to do the same. Writers can and do take any opinion about any issue, no matter how controversial. But Ford won't print an article unless there is solid evidence to back those arguments. That philosophy lets the Journal tackle issues Ford feels are too often ignored: HIV and the black community; reparations; affirmative action; and a possible war in Iraq.
It's also part of the Journal's mission statement: The four to seal? (tefls Clean Up Notice I Together, Evergreen Place and Peoples Bank are offering free bone density screenings free nutritional information Thursday, February 27 at Evergreen Place 801 Gregory Street, Normal 1 p.m. 3 p.m. Complete clean up of all decorations starting March 1, 2003, weather permitting. I Artificial flowers anj grave decorations are not permitted wuh special guest: Ken Behrens EvergreenPlace RESIDENTIAL ASSISTED LIVING rrom March 1 to November 1. Artificial flowers will be permitted in bronze vases or monument vases only.
Fresk cut flowers in ground vases anytime. 'Metal vases available at cost from Cemetery office. All holiday decorations wi II be removed after one (I) week. Hanging baskets or metal frames prohibited. Regulations posted at entrance.
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Trustees 302 E. Miller Bloomington, IL 61701 PeopIesBank Butane foi I icur cenentton. tna me Hen Member FDIC one great school district. AY i two months to due date. three bedrooms would be nice.
Area calendar COMMUNITY Today International Fair; noon to 5 p.m., ISU Bone Student Center ballroom. Cost: $4, $3. Today "Taste of the Twin 4 to 8 p.m., Radisson Hotel Conference Center, Bloom-ington. Benefits Occupational Development Center. Cost: $30, $35.
Call (309) 820-0723. Today Paper Chase Day; 1 to 4 p.m., Children's Discovery Museum, Bloomington. Cost: $10, family. Today Soul food dinner; 5 p.m., IWU Shirk Performance Gym, 302 Emerson Bloomington. Cost: $5, $10.
Call (309) 556-2663. Today Coin show; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Railside Golf Club, 120 W. 19th Gibson City. Sponsored by Gibson City Coin Club.
Today Chili and potato soup supper; 5 to 7 p.m., Westminster Village main dining center, 2025 E. Lincoln Bloomington. Cost: $3. Call (309) 663-6474. Today Open house; 5 to 6:30 p.m., Bloomington High School.
Today "A Celebration of England and the Development of English 7 p.m., Heartland Community College, Community Commons Building, Room 2011-2012. Wednesday Community Day; 6 to 9 p.m., Panera Bread, Greenbriar Drive and Veterans Parkway, Bloomington. Percentage of sales go toward Great Paper Chase. Wednesday "The Rise and Fall of the African American Athlete: Selective Untold 3 p.m., Old Main Room, Bone Student Center. Wednesday "A Festival of African-American 11 a.m., Illinois Wesleyan University Evelyn Chapel.
Thursday Salute to Saturday Night Live; 10 a.m. to noon, Miller Park Senior Center, Bloomington. Call (309) 434-2255. Thursday Downtown Normal informational meeting; 6:30 p.m., Glenn Elementary School. FOR KIDS Today Open house; 3 to 4:30 p.m., Blooming Grove Academy, 510 E.
Washington Suite 115. Monday Registration begins, preschool story time; 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. Wednesdays, Bloomington Public Library To register: (309) 828-6091.
Tuesday Story time; 10 a.m. Tuesdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays, Borders book store, 200A N. Greenbriar Drive, Normal. Call (309) 888-4237.
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