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Journalists: Stay away from the Emerald

This morning I opened the pages of the Daily Emerald opinion section to find something so rare, something so seldom captured by the human eye that it must be commented on. Yes, the Daily Emerald actually ran an editorial. This is a rare finding, seeing as how the space is usually occupied by cartoons with incorrect spelling and “thumbs up, thumbs down” enlightenment.

The editorial masquerades as a warning to those considering involvement in the ASUO next year, citing coming registration for this Spring’s ASUO elections.

“Filing for the elections starts next week. If you are interested in taking on this process, learn about it. Talk to people holding office in the ASUO, read the Green Tape Notebook (which includes the rules for being an ASUO senator), attend the pre-campaign meetings and be prepared to work hard.

Taking on this process requires no less than an absolute commitment: Be very aware of what you are getting into.”

While I have to agree that this year’s rash of ASUO resignations is rather odd and frankly, disheartening, the Emerald‘s editorial offers blanket statements of disappointment towards all that have resigned.

“An ASUO Senate position is a lot of work. You have a hand in controlling a $12-million-dollar budget and will be leading 20,000 of your peers during their education. It should be no surprise that this requires time, energy and dedication. In spite of this, resignations have become typical.”

The editorial essentially complainins about the abdicated spots in the ASUO as “letting down the students”. This from an organization that has fired two news editors, an opinion editor and had another news writer quit because of the firings. And those are the people I know about.

Using the same logic, can the Emerald be blamed for letting down students as a campus newspaper? They lack substantial content on a daily basis, and instead run full page color “house” advertisements almost every single day. They constantly stuff space with columns exchanged with other university papers and the only consistently written material seems to be the sports section. Is this due to poor management? Or is it because of individual problems with staffers? The answer is yes.

As with the ASUO, there are a multitude of reasons why staffing at the Emerald is a problem, and hence, why their content is so inconsistent from day-to-day. Like the Emerald staffers, the ASUO members are individuals. Some don’t give a shit, and some work their asses off. In any case, the ASUO Senate is not, as the Emerald says, a job of “very simple requirements.”

This is not a defense for those who have left the ASUO, or even the ASUO in general. Members quitting the ASUO is a huge problem. Instead what should be offered, however, is a plea to the ASUO to make the time and job requirements more clear to those applying for student government. Even if they are laid out plainly now, apparently something is not hitting home with elected students, and change is necessary.

The next time the Emerald editorial board decides to put pen to paper they should consider offering such an idea. By addressing the ASUO with such concerns, the Emerald could have shown the institutional problems the ASUO has concerning retention. By speaking only to those interested in this Spring’s elections, the Emerald‘s editorial limits its scope, and ultimately, its effectiveness.

  1. D-Dawg says:

    The ASUO is a catch-22. You need to be insane to work in it, but only the sane are fit to work. Most people start their pseudo-government job with a clear head on their shoulders and thoughts of “making a difference”. In reality, they are confronted with special interests, petty squabbles that mimic most pre-teen sibling rivalries, and the age old war between fight club and the conservatives. It’s great entertainment for those who can stand it.

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