Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Editor's Corner: Hi

After one and a half years, IPN’s media editor finally introduces himself.

I’ve been the media editor for Iowa Peace Network since the summer of 2012, but never bothered to say who I was.

My thinking went along the lines of, in the grand scheme of things, what makes some skinny white kid with an afro so important? But over the past few days, I’ve been making digital copies of the back issues of IPN’s journal, which dates back to 1977. Nearly every past coordinator/editor has gone out of his or her way to say hi and when I read what they wrote, I felt connected to them, like they were real people. I now hope to emulate what so many have done before me.

So, a year and a half in ... Hello.

I’m a student at the University of Iowa studying Ethics & Public Policy and Sociology (i.e. how society works). I’ve been involved in journalism since I went to Marshalltown High School, writing and editing for the school newspaper. I also wrote for The Daily Iowan as part of the Editorial Board for a year, but now I just write opinion columns.
Jon Overton

I’m also a research assistant at the UI Center for the Study of Group Processes, basically a fancy name for a social psychology lab. We run experiments, analyze and enter data, and well, you know, sciencey research stuff. I also plan on attending graduate school for sociology, but enough about the boring stuff.

Like many of you, I’m not especially fond of war. I also think we should be doing more to increase social mobility, reduce institutional discrimination, protect the environment, etc.

With that said, I don’t want to peddle a utopian vision of how society should be or cynically rant about how everything’s awful. I've done both and, in hindsight, found the two extremes misleading. I care about learning how the world works and helping others understand it.

Sometimes that means playing devil’s advocate. For example, if we want to decrease violence, we have to empathize with the perpetrators and understand why they did what they did. From there, we can develop solutions that bring about the change we desire.

Obviously, I’m going to have a bias. I can’t show you the world as it is, no matter how hard I try. My upbringing, my social class, my gender, my race, my age, and a bajillion other things are going to influence the way I see the world. That’s true of everyone. All I can promise is that I’ll try to bring a level-headed, evidence-based voice to the table.

So there you have it: my belated introduction. I hope you found it useful. Many thanks to all our supporters, current and former staff members, and everyone else who’s helped maintain IPN for nearly 40 years. You can also help us by sending any input you may have, information on local events, letters-to-the-editor, or other general comments, via email to IPN or myself

You all take care now,


Jon Overton is the Media Editor for Iowa Peace Network and an undergraduate at the University of Iowa studying Ethics & Public Policy and Sociology. He also writes for The Daily Iowan.

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