Hannah Margolis and a group of like-minded conservative students hope to broaden the discourse on the University of Pittsburgh campus by publishing an alternative newspaper.
The Pitt Patriot is readying for its digital launch, Margolis told the Chronicle. News and opinion pieces were submitted and are undergoing edits.
“We want to make sure that it's up to a standard,” Margolis said. “We want to make sure that we come out really strong with our articles.”
Although the University of Pittsburgh already has a student newspaper, The Pitt News, Margolis said The Pitt Patriot — which won’t have a faculty adviser nor be officially linked to the university — will reflect a more “conservative” approach to international and domestic affairs.
Specifically, coverage of Israel will be more “balanced,” said Margolis, the paper’s opinion editor.
“We want to be able to see both sides of the argument, and we don't think that's been happening with The Pitt News,” she said.
An October 2022 opinion piece in The Pitt News questioned the American media’s “objectivity” toward the Middle East and noted, “There are few cases with as much bias urgently needing more attention than that of the U.S.–backed Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
Almost two years earlier, a January 2021 opinion piece called an anti-Israel group’s petition “misleading” after Jewish Voice for Peace sought an end to future cooperation between the Pittsburgh police and Israel: “While the petition is framed as an anti-racist fight for justice, its true focus is to incorrectly blame Israel for contributing to police brutality in America. The petition is filled with false assertions and demonstrates that these organizations are interested not in real dialogue about Israel or Zionism, but in promoting incendiary campaigns that employ anti-Semitic tropes.”
Joshua Minsky, deputy manager of The Pitt Patriot, said the new publication’s coverage of the Middle East should be a welcome alternative to The Pitt News.
When it comes to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it’s “not a black and white issue; it’s extremely complicated,” Minsky said. “I don’t think there is a lot of fairness and balance given to the situation.”
Though foreign policy will be an important focus of The Pitt Patriot’s opinion section, its news division will address national issues, sports and local matters, Minsky said.
“We’re not going to shy away from anything,” said Dylan Mitchell, The Pitt Patriot’s editor-in-chief.
Whether it’s conversations about campus security, gender or critical race theory, one of the paper’s aims is to create “an outlet for conservative thought and conservative ideas,” he added.
With a goal of eventually moving into print, The Pitt Patriot will begin its run at thepittpatriot.com.
Initial funding was provided by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a network that supports more than 50 student-run publications.
Mitchell wouldn’t disclose the amount received from the ISI but said the grant was “enough to kind of help us get off the ground and get doing what we need to do.”
Writers and editors are not receiving payment, and there is no photographer on staff, he added.
“We don’t have major donors or backers to please,” Minsky said. “We have a lot more freedom to say what we think.”
Rebecca Johnson, editor-in-chief of The Pitt News, said her knowledge of The Pitt Patriot is based on the group’s social media posts.
Seven weeks ago, The Pitt Patriot introduced itself on Instagram and posted a message seeking editors and writers to join an enterprise that “gives a voice to conservatives on the University of Pittsburgh campus.” It said the Pitt Patriot’s mission is “to promote the diversity of ideas and encourage a higher level of engagement in political discourse by questioning the dominant perspective on campus and educating the community on alternate positions."
When asked about the new publication, Johnson said in an email, “I wish them well.” PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.