Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Concordian, Vol. LXXVIIII, No. 8

This week's issue of The Concordian is an interesting one. I'm mentioned in the paper... sort of. More on that later. There are a couple Student Government-related pieces, which I always enjoy. One on the news page, and the other on the opinions page.

As it has been for the last few weeks, The Concordian has been an enjoyable newspaper to look at. There was a better effort to have more "hard news" in the paper. How well they did on that, eh, it was hit or miss.

I could go through my general likes or dislikes with the paper, but unless you're a journalism major or have some sort of "newspaper-ing" background, you likely won't care all that much about the technical problems I see with the paper. So, I'll just leave those alone. They're young, they're trying - nobody's perfect.

Here's a list of some of the stories you should check out this week -

Transparency in SGA discussed behind closed doors ... Wendy Holdren wrote this piece about the irony that the SGA went into closed session to discuss how to be more open to students. She interviews Board of Governors representative Curtis Kearns for this piece, and he was not a fan of the closed session (and, it appears, not a fan of the Yeager administration). I have an indirect link to this story. Wendy writes that Ashley Green made the motion for closed session; she asked me what Ashley's position in the SGA was. Do I get a byline for contributing .0005% of the information for this story?

Relocation of trailers postponed due to weather ... This article is written by Svilen Trifinov. The first point I want to make is that I don't like calling these things trailers. I know a lot of people snicker when the adminstration refers to them as "modular units," but that's what they are. The term "trailer" has a negative connotation; something that is not true in this instance. Concord doesn't have a trailer park in back parking lot. They have some modular units that they planned on moving, but the weather got in the way of that. Concord recently bought some land beside campus and plan on putting the units there; they just need to wait for the snow to clear up.

Where'd the Eco guy go? ... This story by Concordian newcomer Jay Dee Estep is a profile on the chair of the SGA's Green Sustainability committee, Gary Thompson. After getting off to a quick start last semester in his committee work, we didn't hear much this semester. This article looks at why. My only real problem with this article is that Gary blames some of the problems on the adminstration not coming through with their promises, yet there's no comment from the adminstration who made it feel like Gary was "beating a dead horse," as he put it. Also, it's a story about Gary Thompson, but there's no picture of him.

Cop Out - You Will Laugh Your Head Off! ... A review of the Bruce Willis/Tracey Morgan buddy-cop comedy, by Svilen Trifinov. He confirms what I think - that this movie is hilarious. I've seen the trailers for it, and it looks really good. A point Svilen makes is that Willis looks good for a man over 40. He's actually 54. Here's some random trivia for you - this movie was originally going to be called "A Couple of Dicks." Brings a whole new meaning to the headline to the story - "You Will Laugh Your Head Off!"

Film Society Nailed It ... Krissy Rustemeyer looks at this week's entry for Concord's Film Society. Looking back, one thing I wish I did at Concord was attend more Film Society showings. They screen a lot of cool movies, a mix of foreign stuff, documentaries, and all-around interesting pieces.

Spring Break stress for senior art majors ... Samantha Ricketts looks at how senor art majors have projects due during Spring Break. An interesting read.

Grabbing Concord by the Balls ... Kurtis White is back again with his sports column, this time looking at March Madness tournament brackets. It looks like there will be some sort of bracket contest in the paper coming up. Should be fun. March Madness was always a big deal in the sports section in the past, as Mike Stanton wrote about it a lot.

For What It's Worth: Facebook should be banned ... Amanda Lee's latest edition of "For What It's Worth" looks at her addiction with Facebook. Replace Facebook with Twitter, and you have me summed up. Very good piece. She's been one of the most consistent writers on the staff this semester.

Letter to the Editor: SGA Assessment ... I received a Facebook message from Ashley Hicks a couple days ago, telling me that she had a surprise in The Concordian (and also, for me to be nice to her when I blogged about it). I figured it was a Letter to the Editor; because, what else could it be? I figured it would be looking at Amanda Lee's article about Greek life, as I thought she was done concerning herself with the SGA. But, she takes a look at the SGA and offers her thoughts on the shortcomings in the Yeager adminstration. I believe she went a smidgen over the 500-word limit. She has some points I agree with (namely, the trasnparency issues I've blogged about already) and a couple points I don't see 100% eye-to-eye with. But, it's awesome that somebody with as much SGA knowledge as her is giving her thoughts on this. If people treat the SGA as being important, then that's how people will perceive it.

A Critique for a Critic ... Liston Pennington wrote this article about recent criticisms that the newspaper has received. If you read between the lines, you can tell that he's writing mostly about me.

Initially, I read this and wasn't going to comment much on it. At its core, he disagrees with what I said and how I went about saying it. That's his opinion and that's cool. I disagree with it, but [insert Thomas Paine quote here].

My only problem with this article is that the more I read it, the less sense it makes. I don't understand where Liston is coming from with some of his comments. He says I didn't criticize constructively or actively. I don't understand what that means.

Here's what we're talking about - click here and read the blog where I give my honest opinion on the newspaper. I don't think anything I said was too bad. I praised most of the sections, while noting the fact that there's not a lot of "hard news" on the front page.

Here's another part I'd like some further enlightenment on:

Liston writes the following: "Instead of understanding a situation or fixing it, they use words like 'laughingstock' and justify their criticisms with past accomplishments." He then follows that up with the following zing towards me: "So if you want to criticize, you should do so constructively and take action, otherwise you would be better suited to manage a pizza joint because your lack of conviction makes you a 'laughingstock'."

What he's doing there is taking the fact that I called the paper a "laughingstock" and turning it around to call me a laughingstock... except for one simple fact... I never called the paper a laughingstock.

That word is actually attributed to Curtis Kearns, in the comments section of the blog I linked a few paragraphs above. Here's what Curtis wrote: "As soon as an advisor and the staff take the investigative portion of journalism seriously, the Concordian will be the talk of the town again. Until then? The laughingstock."

I don't know what Liston's doing here. If he misunderstood and thinks I wrote that, or if he's lumping our criticisms together. Either way, that last paragraph doesn't make any sense and comes off as petty. What does the fact that I am a manager at Pizza Hut have to do with my ability to criticize a student organization I spent 9 semesters as a part of?

My lack of conviction? What does that mean? I don't have conviction because I took a semester off from school? I mentioned a few days ago that I would update my personal life in a a blog entry soon. I'll discuss why I'm not attending Concord in that entry.

I don't know. I'll let Jesse Call sum things up for me. Here's a message he sent me on Twitter -

"That Concordian article was mean and made no sense. I'm sure they're proud of their stand against gossip but not trashtalking."

* * *

That looks like just about everything I have right now. I'd like to close by saying that I don't mean any ill will towards The Concordian. I'm not "against them" in any way. As gay as it sounds, I love the newspaper. I dedicated so much time and energy to doing what I felt was right for the students. I'm naturally going to have an opinion on what it looks like right now.

I prided myself on covering news, on getting all the big scoops. I'm not pleased that this current staff doesn't see that as important an issue as I did. Like I've said, though, the paper looks good for what it is. They don't cover all the breaking news, but they cover what they cover, and it works for them. The Concordian is a quality periodical right now. It's not what it was when I was in charge, but I still like Wendy Holdren's version of the paper. She's doing a great job with the resources she has.

* * *

Here's my disclaimer:

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.


  1. I tried to get JayDee to get a picture for his story. However, he was busy trying to get everything set up for the eternal light ritual for Alvin White's wife who passed and I was unable to contact him. I think that was a little more important.

    Keep reading...

    Ms. Mullins

  2. The worst thing about the lack of Gary Thompson's photograph is that the article leads with a comment on the recognizability of his face. :) No big deal though, just slightly humorous.

  3. The light ritual is very important, I will note. I'd like to read about a students efforts to organize this in The Concordian...

    But, it only takes about 30 seconds to grab a picture off Facebook. If the staff writer couldn't do it, there's a section editor who could have done it, then an Editor-in-Chief who could have gotten it.

    It was especially needed, since like Barbie pointed out, the article talks about how recognizable he is.

    Also, as Barbie pointed out, not a big deal, but slightly humorous.

  4. The lack of picture for the Eco article was entirely my fault. J.D. Estep brought Gary in so I could get a picture, but I was already uploading the file to the Bluefield Daily. I could have taken time to rearrange the page, save the file again, change it to a PDF, upload it to BDT, but I have an evening class and was running short on time. So I just wanted to say I take full credit for that one.

    Also, as far as "hard news" stories go, I love writing about them when they're available. Not much has happened on campus as of late - I've lost count of inclement weather days. I try to write about SGA, but it's really difficult to do when you don't even know the basic procedures and policies.

    I really like the way the newspaper looks. I agree that it has taken a more upbeat, fun article approach, but I would rather have a good feature-style paper as opposed to a half-assed attempt to be a hard-hitting reporting paper.

    I'm always open to suggestions. This isn't the staff newspaper, it's the student newspaper. The only way we can make it better is if we get feedback.

  5. Chris,
    I'm sorry I haven't responded to what you have had to say about my opinions artivle on critics, but you were right. I did clump you in with Kearns and he was much less constructive in his criticism. The main reason for the pizza line was out of passion and though I typically don't let passion show I may have mistakenly allowed it to this time.
    Personally, I had a problem with the line when I re-read the blog that sparked the opinion piece, but I thought it was too funny a line to pass up and I had already told some people I was going to use the "pizza" line. I'd rather look like a fool instead of a liar.
    To be honest, I'd like to see you back because I don't have the passion for the SGA that you do and the only writers we have that tend to cover the SGA are involved in it.
    I do apologize to you on some level, but my primary criticism of the critics was that they don't understand that there has been a limited number of stories this year, hence the situation, and most of them such as Kearns and yourself are not yet done with Concord, so I'd rather see you write with the paper than blog about it.
    I'm willing to talk to you about this in much more detail on a facebook message, but I wanted to get an apology out there for your viewers to see about the cheap shot I made.
    You have my best,