Bobbleheads, buttons, and buttonholing reporters
David's and Charles' posts are insightful. Distraction has gone on here at SCSU for a long time, including a button offered one year at convocation by President Roy Saigo that read"We're All In This Together", except of course for all the administrators he's fired. Our interim dean upped the ante to t-shirts with a college logo -- this while we had no equipment budget.
One point I made in my crosspost to SCSU Scholars is that academics concerned about their university's administration need to reach out to the local newspaper themselves. Reporters find the ivory tower to have few entry points, and leaving that to your school's public relations people is not going to help get out stories of ineptitude or malfeasance by their bosses. Indeed, in the case of the firing of a dean here at SCSU, even the campus paper printed a story it had to retract which looks to all the world like a story planted by somebody outside the newspaper. And now that the university is being sued for libel over the article, it is engaging in more distraction in part by using a different reporter than the usual higher education reporter, who knows who to call for more information.
King Banaian - 6/2/2004
That's pretty much all you can do, David. For the most part you're planting seeds that may take months to germinate. And with some reporters the level of bias is palpable and they blow you off. Then you get a blog and rip them...
David T. Beito - 6/1/2004
I agree with both of you and we have tried. Soon after Cruz arrived, I met with him personally, expressed our views, and showed him copies of our newspaper. We also tried hard to get him interested in stories. He never called us back or emailed us. We also have contacted both the news and editorial page editor, but to little effect. We had a much better relationship with the previous reporters who covered the campus beat.
On the bright side, however, the Tuscaloosa News has generally printed our op-ed pieces. Also, we have gotten some excellent coverage from the Mobile Register, plus some editorials on key issues. Unfortunately, Mobile is more than a three hour drive from Tuscaloosa!
Jonathan Dresner - 5/31/2004
I'll have to consider that. The recently-retired publisher of our local rag was so close to the university administration and local power structures that I really wouldn't risk making waves that way. But it might yet be a good idea.