Letter from the Editor: Puzzles are a privilege

Katrina Sanville, Editor-in-Chief

Dear The Mass Media puzzle community, 

We love hosting and creating a sense of comradery over the puzzles in our newspaper each week, as well as rewarding those who have put in the time and effort to solve the puzzles. The puzzles we publish aren’t easy, and we appreciate those of you who take the time to solve them and feel proud enough of your work to turn it in for a reward. 

That being said, the behavior over the puzzles has gone too far. For several weeks, I have had people racing each other in the office in order to be the first person to claim the prize, as well as people congregating well before the collection times. Additionally, people have been asking us to bend the rules or give out more than is warranted. 

We do not want to stop giving out prizes, but we also do not want to reward ungrateful behavior. The prizes are supposed to be a reward for those who read our newspaper and take the time to complete these difficult puzzles—that is all. So going forward, and as of the issue that will be published April 3, new rules surrounding the puzzle prizes will be implemented to hopefully accomplish this. 

First and foremost, all those who participate in the puzzles need to respect the office space that The Mass Media is housed in. We are not the only people in here, and there are other students and professional staff members attempting to get work done. This means no running and no shouting. You will get the prize when you arrive, or you can try again next week. 

Next, all participants will be limited to one “win” per month in order to give as many people the chance to win as possible. We often have the same people come in week after week—which is great—but it ostracizes others who may have correctly completed the puzzles and cannot get here fast enough. Our hope is to allow a few more people a chance at winning, even if everyone cannot win. 

We will also be implementing a new system of checking those who are active readers of The Mass Media, rather than those who pick up the paper just for the puzzles. Based on the reader survey, I know there are at least a couple of people who only pick up the paper for the puzzles, which keeps them from gaining valuable student information and perspectives! Going forward, those turning in the puzzle will share their favorite article and why to encourage participants to read the newspaper each week. This is not a pop quiz or punishment; it is just a way to encourage weekly readership and reward those who do read.  

A reminder to you all that these prizes are given on a first come, first serve basis. First come, first serve applies whether you have one puzzle done or all three. The prize is still given to the first person to come to our office with their completed puzzle. As of right now, they are collected Wednesdays from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 12:30 to 5 p.m., but we are open new suggestions. 

As explained before, we enjoy this community, and we love rewarding those who complete the puzzles. However, we do not enjoy the state of things now, and we do not want it to go any further. Should this behavior continue, we will consider scaling back the prize or taking it away all together. 

We hope to see you next week and hope to see a new era of puzzle collection! 


Katrina Sanville (She/Her) 

Editor in Chief of The Mass Media