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Sudsy Wants You to Join the Oregon Commentator

Another stumble of a start for the Ol’ Dirty

Has the Ol’ Dirty Emerald joined the fight of The Oregonian’s hack-of-an-editor Sandy Rowe in transforming daily newspapers into complete rags? On the front page of today’s Ol’ Dirty is maybe four inches of news. The cutout of LaGarrett Blount in a teaser is the same size of actual news story on the front page. Dirty, what are the students paying you for? What a joke.

  1. Ossie says:

    Is this the worst ASUO news article ever written?

  2. Timothy says:

    The transition from hep cat to old square is a tough one, some make it with more grace than others. Mine? Completely graceless.

  3. Jacoby says:

    CJ, I think the return of Aroused America could help with that.

  4. CJ Ciaramella says:

    Yeah, as the editor of the Commentator, I’m going to refrain from criticizing anyone’s layout.

  5. Meghann says:

    I’m reminded of an Onion article from about a year ago, headlined something like, “Former college newspaper editor can’t believe the shit his old paper is publishing.”

  6. Andy says:

    Yes the riots are back!! T- you write for the b-journal? Give me a text sometime to get a beer and I’ll give leeper a call too.

  7. T says:

    Hey, as ad sales decrease across the board for newspapers nationally, it’s hard to fault the ODE for having a lot of ads (they pay the reporters’ salaries, after all). Some college newspapers are strugling in this regard. The ad people sound like they’re doing a bang up job. However, ad sales are typically intended to create bigger news holes. The ODE has a lot of reporters, actually — especially if you count freelancers, who the paper could use better for spot news coverage.

    They should use them wisely and farm out the spot/breaking coverage to up-and-comers.

  8. Chris says:

    For an “ASUO watchdog” they sure have printed some outlandish crap in support of the ASUO. Last year, they did an entire take on the Rec Center Advisory Board’s meetings on the center’s budget and proposed fee increases to cover cost of operation (etc) and the entire article was full of errors and misrepresentations. They were nice enough to have the ‘picture’ that went with the piece be a bunch of monkeys swinging around an office…apparently insinuating that those of us on the board had no idea what we were doing. (yes I’m biased here, being on the board…but I would take the punches if they were legit).

    It was essentially a puff piece supporting one of the ASUO people…Billy Hatch if I remember correctly. The only real role he played, and if I’ve got the name wrong I apologize, was to harass the rec center for public budget documents that were repeatedly offered to the ASUO. Yet, they couldn’t just accept the offer…they had to pretend they didn’t hear it so that they could pretend like their apparent crusade made some sort of sense. Then they’d also make thinly-veiled threats to either get legal individuals involved, or that legal would step in if we didn’t do what they wanted…it was sad.

    Getting back on topic, I think that there are some people who end up working for the DB and they are decent writers and reporters. There have been several great pieces over the years…but they are hard to find a lot of the time. The point though, is that the publication could be a lot better…which I think is true. The point about ad saturation is also valid. Their website has improved a little though.

  9. T says:

    Being an ASUO watchdog is quite easy, actually. Once you enter the real world, though, you see how real power brokers strong arm you and obfuscate things — and it’s quite different from how a bunch of petulant kids do it.

    But I agree, Jan. There were some really great reporters who came out of the ODE when I was at the UO: Meghann Cuniff, Moriah Balingit, Jared Paben, Parker Howell (despite the prevailing perception of him being sort of supercilious), and others. They all showed potential and grew as reporters; hell, they probably showed a lot more potential than I did, honestly. (They also got more opportunities than I did, partially due to Howell’s superciliousness. This is me harboring a grudge, by the way.)

    As for the paper as a whole: I think the layout is great! But the writing? Not stellar. They should keep some of their stories shorter and really focus on growing one or two reporters into long-form investigative or features writers.

    And I disagree about the investigative stuff in general. It’s hit or miss. Usually, they only know about the stuff that’s fed to them, laid out plainly, and even then it reads like a bunch of bullshit perpetrated by a bunch of insignificant, back-biting wanna-be bureaucrats. And I still don’t believe that most of their writers have any sort of institutional memory — and that’s a problem. They might be skeptical by their last term at the UO, but that’s only because there are so many obvious lies that insult your intelligence you can stomach before you feel sick.

  10. Jan says:

    I agree with you completely on the commentary front (the whole “fuck” in the headline thing last year was ridiculous), but the ODE has served the students well over the past several years in its role as an ASUO watchdog. I’m sure there are exceptions when they dropped they ball, as is true for any newspaper, but considering these are students — and they aren’t getting paid much — I think the investigative work has been pretty good. If anything, the Emerald instills a good sense of skepticism of government that I believe is required to be a good journalist. At least that’s how it was in my day.

  11. T says:

    The problem with the Ol’ Dirty is that its stories inevitably read like notebook dumps, devoid of proper transitions or original thought. There’s a reason why the paper rarely wins the ONPA college award for “Best Writing.”

    Anyway, I don’t care about the news as much as I care about the commentary. New columnist Merideth LeFrance delights with her virgin outing, cleverly entitled “Technology becoming a crutch.” (FYI, Emerald, it is acceptable to use verbs in your headlines!)

    Oh, what a fount of insight Ms. LeFrance is! “There are computers in grocery stores, restaurants, classrooms and libraries,” she writes. “Occasionally, when I’m in Safeway or Target, I can’t help but think how catastrophic it would be if the computers were to suddenly crash.”

    Yes, you’d be forced to go to Albertson’s or Fred Meyer. What a terrible calamity!

    Here are some more nuggets:

    “On top of that, how annoying is it when you’re riding the bus and the person behind you is yammering on his or her phone for more than an hour? I can think of more pleasant things to listen to.”

    “Computers might not always be the most reliable devices, but they are capable of storing mass quantities of information that we can filter through in a matter of seconds.”

    Exactly! This columnist is clearly a consummate journalist because this is a true statement of fact.

    “But what really irks me is when people allow these ‘useful commodities’ to consume their lives. For instance, when I go out to eat with a friend, I expect to have, for the most part, his or her full attention. Maybe this is too much to ask, but do they really need to be having a full texting conversation while we’re trying to chat in person? Call me old school, but I think that’s just a little rude.”

    Blah blah blah. You know what bothers me? The fact that all these technamological doohickeys — these Facebooks, MySpaces and email tubes — have made it so that every student columnist writes like he/she is posting to his/her LiveJounal page, without any consideration as to whether the reader might be interested in what insignificant quirk in modern society is personally annoying
    the author at that specific second.

    And, of course, that speaks to larger truths.

    Here’s my problem with the ODE, and it touches upon what Ossie alluded to above: Aside from giving young journalists an opportunity to learn how to report, the ODE doesn’t teach kids much about newspapers.


    In fact, in many ways the ODE makes kids complacent because there’s no business model. (Holding your hand out and saying, “More money, please” is not a sustainable business model.) No matter what drivel the paper prints, it still gets its money and the reporters still get to keep writing. I bet the dozens of reporters, copy editors and photographers laid off at the Oregonian and Portland Tribune in the last several months would love to be in a similar situation.

    It amazes me that in a journalistic environment that’s more competitive than ever, the concept of writing content that people actually want to read, in a manner that is readable and interesting, continues to baffle the ODE.

  12. Vincent says:

    There are so many ads in the Emerald these days that the paper is starting to resemble the “Auto Weekly” things you can pick up for free outside the supermarket — only with less actual content.

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