Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It seems to me like our school paper does not support USU athletics

So i know we have the editor of the school paper in this class, and im definitly not comin down on you cause its really not that bad, i just get upset cause im an athlete here. In mondays paper towards the back is a letters to the editor section which takes up the majority of the page and is placed right in the middle. I know this cause it caught my eye and i sure wasn't looking for these letters. There were two, and they were both strongly against voting to raise student athletic fees. They were both rather long and both tried to make many valid points against voting for this. Now i understand that these are letters to the editor, and not written by the paper, but to put two back to back supporting the same thing and nothing talking about the other side of the issue seems like a set up. How can your average student that doesn't know much about this, make a correct desicion if all they read is one side? I'm quite sure that there had to be at least one letter to the editor that supported voting for the raise in student athletic fees, but if not I am sorry. Again i have no problem with using these letters in the paper, but at least have something to represent the other side.

6 comments:

  1. I wish I would have seen this paper. I am glad you commented on this issue because it is one that is very controversial on campus right now. I am amazed at how close the voting was and I am so glad to see it passed. I cannot imagine this school without athletics. I am glad you voiced you opinion and I agree with you.

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  2. I would like to make several points in response to the statements made above. I do not want to pick a fight; however, I must argue the points presented.

    First, if you pick up an issue of The Utah Statesman, it is obvious it supports athletics, publishing a section devoted to it in every issue. Typically they have more pages and bigger photos than other sections. In this semester alone, we have devoted more than 2,300 inches to athletics. We cover as many events as possible, even sending reporters and photographers to tournaments and championships.

    Second, we started our coverage of the athletics fee Jan. 28. In addition to this, the paper published articles regarding the fee Feb. 11, Feb. 27, March 2, March 16, March 23, and March 25, most of which were placed on the front page of the newspaper, four of which were above the fold. These articles included information from Athletics Director Scott Barnes, ASUSU Athletics Vice President Jeremy Winn, ASUSU Student Advocate Vice President Steven Russell, ASUSU presidential candidates, USU Vice President, and Provost Raymond Coward, and members of the USU Board of Trustees. We also published an Our View in the opinion section in which The Statesman's editorial board debated both sides of the fee. Because the editorial board was unable to peacefully agree on the issue, we presented arguments for and against, allowing our readers to make their own decision on the athletics fee without our influence.

    Third, the letters published Monday, March 23 were the only letters I received regarding the athletics fee. Had I received any more, they would have been published as well, whether they were for or against. If readers looked at the opinion pages, they would see letters to the editor are always placed right in the middle of the page.This is consistent with the layout the opinion section has had for years. Also, these letters met The Statesman policy. This was, by no means, a set up.Those in support of the fee had ample time to promote and defend their position.

    Fourth, the athletics fee passed. If popular belief holds – that The Utah Statesman had unfair coverage, was not in support of the fee, or didn't present enough information – we obviously have no sway with our readers. However, we published articles with a variety of sources. We did not come down on one side of the issue or the other. I invite you to read The Utah Statesman, perhaps the issues mentioned above, and see for yourself. If this is not enough, I suggest you take issue with the 2,159 students who voted against the athletics fee.

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  4. Well, Arie that was beautifully explained. I would like to say, that often people blame "the media" for things in society they are unhappy or confused about. This goes back to the argument of citizens being unable to decipher the difference between the media's role (to educate, which the Statesman did, and to represent all sides, which they did also) and their role as a citizen. The newspaper is only as good as the community involvement. I feel the Statesman is being used as a scapegoat for the real issue that is at hand, which is perhaps an unfair election, poor advertising, poor timing, etc. As for the "set-up," if someone had written a letter for the fees then it would have been printed. But this was in the opinion section, where, lo and behold, the opinion goes. The Statesman cannot make up or solicit these letters. The actual coverage of the issue was plenty and fair. The media is imperfect, but the people are too. Lay blame where blame belongs.

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  5. Arie, your response to the post, with details, dates, and explanation of how it all went down, deserves wider exposure, IMO. Maybe you've got an editorial for Monday's paper? Just a thought.

    We (as in journalists) don't spend nearly enough time explaining our jobs to our readers.

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  6. i can dig it and agree that the paper does in fact support athletics, maybe a bad title. All i didnt like was two back to back letters on the same thing. Just looking around for anything that catches my eye in the paper. Im not trying to blame anybody or bring anybody down. Just simply thought that there were probably other letters supporting that could have gone up, but if not, I'm the jackass I guess and I'm sorry.

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