March 1, 2012

Something Solid

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WHAT IS “SOMETHING SOLID?” WELL, it doesn’t really mean anything. The word solid is not a very descriptive word. Use it in an essay of some kind for class –– “yeah, I thought the reading was … solid” –– and the professor will probably assume that you didn’t read the book. Come home and tell your friends or family that you had a “solid day,” and they likely won’t know how to respond. Recommend a solid restaurant to some, and it’ll be unclear whether they should go or not. In the world of journalism –– where every word is supposed to convey a specific meaning, where the difference between two synonyms, like “captured” and “seized,” tucked away in the middle of a paragraph can change entire arguments, and where the choice between those words can spark hour-long debates among editors –– the word solid should have no place.

But there is another meaning to the word that is more descriptive and powerful than most others that you’ve likely read in these pages over the past year. It’s about an implicit understanding that stretches far beyond its straightforward definition. It is about something’s quality, its foundation. It happens when something doesn’t require a description, it’s just understood.Nothing more needs to be said. In fact, nothing more can really be said that would describe it any better. You just know.

Over the course of this past year, the word solid has taken on a special meaning at our office. It happened when we knew we had picked the perfect word, or strung together a bunch of them, that conveyed exactly what we intended. It happened in our news coverage when we felt that we had meticulously researched a story from every possible angle. It was there in the opinion pieces we felt had airtight arguments that could convince even those who might disagree to concede that we had made a point. We admit that we didn’t always get there. But that was always the bar, and when we got there, we all knew.

On Saturday, The Sun will elect its 130th editorial board and, in Monday’s paper, you will find the names of a class of new editors just above this space. We wanted to close our tenure by thanking you all, our readers. It has been a pleasure serving the campus and Ithaca communities over this past year. We never saw this as our paper, but as a paper for our readers. And we hope that over the course of the coming year, you will find something in every section that might be best summed up in one word: solid.

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