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A Week in the Life of the Ol’ Dirty

Newspaper CrosswordIt’s not easy being the daily paper at the University of Oregon. As the Commentator knows, it’s hard to even publish a couple of issues a term, and it’s difficult to imagine the kind of work it takes for student reporters and editors to push out one a day when not a whole lot happens on campus. I know, I was there.*

However, this means that when news does happen the Oregon Daily Emerald should try to cover it as quickly as possible. Though we here at the Commentator think we put up a good fight when compared to the Emerald’s coverage of campus political news, the Emerald should view the Register Guard as their most formidable opponent (or at least that was what I was taught) especially when it comes to campus news. So, when it doesn’t beat the R-G it’s rather dissapointing, and it’s been a pretty dissapointing term so far.

On Tuesday February 27, the Emerald printed an article on the recent critical report concerning the operations of the UO Museum of Art. This was more than two weeks after the R-G had covered the story on February 9th. I know that this story is important and relevant and it should get reported on whether it’s the day the report was released or three months later. It may be, Ol’ Dirty, that you didn’t get the relevant press release, or have the same contacts as the R-G, but if you read the R-G that day would have been able to get the story out on the following Monday or Tuesday. You do read the biggest city paper every day, don’t you? Don’t you?

The same day, the R-G reported on the city council discussing alcohol consumption in private parking lots near Autzen on the days of home games (note: the OC blogged about it that night). The Emerald got to the story on Thursday; a couple days late. Now, I know that city council meetings are not the most exciting of events to cover; however, when they are concerned about something related to the University it’s news that should make it in the Emerald as soon as possible. There’s actually a link to all the agendas of upcoming meetings on the City of Eugene website. I would link to it, but if you’re a reporter for the ODE and you’re reading this, you should be damn well able to find it yourself.

Finally, I know writing an obituary is difficult. I’ve done it myself and it was probably one of the most difficult pieces I’ve ever written. However, when a student dies two weeks before Thanksgiving, you should at least be able to get something, anything, about the student’s death the end of the term, or at least at the beginning of the next term. It doesn’t even need to be remotely poetic or sentimental, just factual, accurate and respectful. It’s quite possible that you didn’t hear about her death until very recently, but I’m pretty sure someone would have alerted the daily campus paper to the fact that a student, who had previously been featured in an article, had died a tragic death.

I’m sorry to rag on you Ol’ Dirty. I know I’m being condescending and critical when I really am not qualified to be in such a position, but I’ve been there and I know that you guys can do better than this. It’s all in our best interest for the Emerald to be a good paper, especially one that can protect students’ interests from the machinations of the city and administration and expose the abuses and idiodicy inherent to our campus political system. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

*FYI: I worked for the Emerald back in the second half of 2003 as a senior news reporter.

(Photo: Ingorrr)

  1. Meghann says:

    Pffft….I broke the story the first week of October 05 about the basketball arena designs getting started thanks to a big donation. The Guard wrote the same story two months later. There are other examples, I’m sure.

  2. Ian says:

    Which is unfortunate, really– at least from a Spew editor’s perspective.

  3. Niedermeyer says:

    And say what you want about Ol Dirty’s news, their Commentary has come quite a way in the last term.

  4. Sho says:

    Good point, Meghann. That is something I should have caught, especially seeing how it was on the front page. Interestingly, both Grasgreen’s and Bolt’s articles note that the R-G was responsible for getting the written report from the University, and yet the Ol’ Dirty printed about it first. Looks like the R-G dropped the ball on that one.

    Additonally, the Emerald did a very good job on covering the story of the University student who died after last night’s unfortunate hit-and-run incident (although the editor-in-chief had a hand in writing the article).

    However, the R-G seems quick enough to catch up with the Emerald, and I doubt they go much longer than a few days when they get scooped on a story; the Emerald seems to have a bit more lag, especially this year.

    I should note that it’s a lot easier to notice when the Emerald messes up, than when it does things right. At least the website isn’t as hideous and unwieldly as or OregonLive.

  5. Meghann says:

    You forgot to mention all the times the Emerald’s scooped the Guard, which happened just last week. It was regarding the 3-page report the Athletics Department had done. ODE story was Friday; Bolt’s story was Saturday.

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