By Lee Lowther
In late spring of 2011, David Slade pitched the idea for the Arkansas Journal of Social Change and Public Service to a group of my now co-editors. The proposal struck me, as I am sure it did the others, as an opportunity to begin something new and exciting, something that we could devote ourselves to that would yield tangible benefits in our community. We were all an easy sell.
We filled the ensuing months by meeting with faculty advisors, devising editorial procedures, engineering a website, soliciting articles, securing funding, and speaking with Dean John DiPippa. During one of our meetings with Dean DiPippa, he asked us a simple, yet thought provoking, question: why another journal? Good question. What will we contribute that another source is not currently providing? With seemingly infinite sources dispersing news and commentary, why should people come to us? For me, the Journal is innovative, exciting, and needed for a number of reasons.
First, the Journal will be published exclusively online. By utilizing this format, the Journal will avail itself of the myriad possibilities the Internet offers to provide visitors with articles, videos, sound, pictures, cartoons, and podcasts.
The choice to provide our content over the internet reflects the fact that people are gravitating toward that medium to consume their news, editorials, and entertainment. Today laptops, tablet computers, eReaders, and smart phones abound. Such devices are becoming as standard as wristwatches, and the Journal will be accessible on each and every one of them.
Second, the Journal will accept contributions from people representing a vast array of disciplines and viewpoints. It will be a catchall for contributors who have scholarly works, editorials, and other forms of commentary, but who do not have a journal in which to publish or express their views. We look forward to helping provide a forum in which these people can express their ideas and spread information.
Third, the Journal will connect people with ideas to people able to implement those ideas. We have pragmatic goals for the Journal and wish it to be a conduit through which real change is achieved in our community. With hard work and patience, we anticipate the Journal will become known as a place to rouse support for a cause, generate awareness of an issue, or seek aid and support for a nascent or ongoing public service.
Finally, we hope that people in the community will contribute to and take pride in this project. Already, the outpouring of interest in and support for our fledging Journal has been truly humbling. People from widely divergent fields and viewpoints have agreed to contribute their time and effort to make the Journal a success. We hope this trend continues into the future, and that the Journal will provide a rallying point for conscientious citizens in Arkansas and across the nation.