Showing posts with label Daily Nebraskan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Daily Nebraskan. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Paying the price for Original Stupidity

The incoming editor of the Daily Nebraskan thinks it would be an awful shame if the student body closed the checkbook that covers a seventh of the University of Nebraska student newspaper's annual budget.

Perhaps Ian Sacks ought to have had that conversation with the paper's present student editor before
Jenna Gibson and her staff -- largely comprised of what one now-former columnist described as "hipsters" -- set about endangering their already-tenuous hold on that student assessment by angering lots of students for no good reason.

And when I say "for no good reason." I mean just that. Unless, of course, someone can explain to me how a salacious article about the sexual habits of College of Architecture students and teaching assistants, based purely on anonymous innuendo and gossip, constitutes good reason.

Sacks takes to the
Support the Daily Nebraskan page on Facebook to lament a student's decision to vote no Wednesday on continuing student funds for the newspaper:
I understand architecture students' grievances entirely. However, I do feel I need to say that as next year's editor-in-chief, no one needs to worry about similar stories running again. I know next year's editorial staff is behind me on this as well.

If these students truly feel one story's damage has outweighed all positive coverage both before and after, and that its consequences should be levied upon next year's staff, that's their prerogative. But it seems very "sins of the father" and that's unfortunate.
AS SOMEONE with a few years under my belt, I find it "unfortunate" that an incoming editor of a student newspaper doesn't understand that "very 'sins of the father'" has been how the real world has operated, oh . . . forever. We Christians call it "original sin."

Ever since Adam decided Eve was onto something with that forbidden-fruit
diet, every child born into this fallen world has had to pay the price for the "sins of the father." I suspect that model will hold true concerning the sins of the Daily Nebraskan.

When one semester's DN staff breaks trust with its readers by publishing uninformative, salacious trash --
salacious trash accompanied by a foul illustration -- it, frankly, is unreasonable to expect that a burned student body is going to put much stock in an incoming editor's promises not to be as irresponsible as his predecessor.

In other words, it sucks to be him, because only a fool listens to what people
say in lieu of watching what they do.

And what this semester's staff of the
Daily Nebraskan has done is squander the fruit of more than a century of previous staffs' hard labor for the sake of one prurient story of no news value. It is this sin that may well be held against many DN staffs that follow -- if, indeed, any follow at all if students vote no.

Not that the newspaper's present management has learned anything from its February missteps:

The story began a lot different than it turned out. The original assignment was to write about the sex lives of students who spend a large amount of their time hard at work in Architecture Hall. Instead, what ran was a story that presented the anonymous statements of few students that was misunderstood at representative of all architecture majors. That this misunderstanding occurred is the fault of the Daily Nebraskan — many architecture students have contacted us saying they resent the statement.

On a positive note, this situation has improved the level of editorial oversight on such provocative articles, and we on the DN Editorial Board admit there needs to be more eyes on a story like this one so it could have been improved before running. There will also be more oversight on the art, making sure that any explicit content is not only justified but not distracting to the point of the story it accompanies.

THAT EDITORIAL from Feb. 6 didn't express regret over printing the college newspaper version of Jersey Shore. What it expressed was regret it didn't give a sleazy premise better production values.

What it also didn't say was that Kelsey Lee -- the reporter who has achieved, while still an undergrad, a level of pandering and cynicism to which it takes others many years to sink -- was out of a job. (That's because she's not.) Editors always can manage a staff better and more attentively. What editors can't do is magically give reporters and artists a moral compass and common sense.

Neither Lee nor artist Bob Al-Greene
(who seems to be more of a Bob 2 Live Crew to me) displayed either.

Everybody screws up. Some screw-ups, however, preclude editors from giving the offenders a second chance. Senseless transgressions that may have placed the publication into
mortal jeopardy fall into that category.

NO ONE -- or at least not this writer, an alumnus of The Daily Reveille at LSU who's married to an alumna of the Daily Nebraskan -- wants to see NU's student paper disappear or be crippled for years. That goes double for Mr. Sacks, who already has a hell of a mess to clean up as editor for 2011-12.

But, as we say these days, "mistakes were made." Consequences usually follow.

Though the price Ian Sacks and his staff might pay for the "sins of the father" could be high indeed, it would be hard to say the penalty would be unjust should the student body see fit to mete it out. The reality of this world is that we always pay for "the sins of the father."

Thus it always has been. Thus it always shall be.