To the Editor:

Having been the target of protests and name-calling after we published the Horowitz advertisement at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I thought the premise of your argument (“The newspaper brouhaha at Brown,” 3/22) — that the Herald may lose readership — was uninformed.

From a business standpoint, I believe that both the Brown Daily Herald and the Badger Herald (my paper) will come out of the Horowitz ad ordeal with a much stronger and loyal readership. The vast majority of the press and public have overwhelmingly supported us and are impressed with our courage in standing up for something we believe in: free speech. Because we refused to kowtow to name-calling, my perception is that the Badger Herald’s reputation in the eyes of our readers and other media is at an all-time high.

Even if the ad did mar our short-term profitability, publishing it was still the right thing to do. Rather than scolding the Brown editors for bad business decisions, I wish you had applauded them for risking readership to do what they thought was right. After all, student newspapers do not exist to make money; nobody’s ever gotten rich working for a college paper.

To censor any department for fear of offending readership would fly in the face of our mission.

We believe people have the right to hold and espouse unpopular opinions. Of course, we are under no obligation to publish every opinion, but decisions regarding censorship — be it editorial or advertising — should not be based on financial concerns.

Alex Conant

March 22, 2001

The writer is managing editor of the Badger Herald, a student newspaper at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.