Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Re: "Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser?"

It's been an interesting couple days here at the blog. A little increased readership, a lot of comments, some good debate, and a very good representation of an online public forum were presented here over the last week or so.

Before we go any further I'd like to point out an easy way to leave comments. You post your comment into a box that is labeled "Post a comment." Under that box is another box that says "Comment as:" and features a box you can click. You can choose a few options there, one of which is "anonymous," if you don't want your name printed. If you do want your name printed, you can choose the "name/url" option and enter your name. You can also enter a url that people can be redirected to if they click your name. That way, we won't read what we think is an anonymous comment, until we get to the bottom and see that somebody put their name on it.

The last couple blogs I posted had a lot of feedback. The first was my entry titled "Looking at the Nov. 17 'Imagine...' column" and the second, which came about from comments left on that post was titled "Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser?"

The post about Lindsey Mullins came about after talking to my girlfriend Candace Nelson, who is the Editor-in-Chief of West Virginia University's newspaper (The Daily Athenaeum). She didn't think that Mullins was very professional in criticizing the work of one of her writers in my blog's comments section. I agree with Candace that it was not right to do that. Candace also had some wise advice, not just for Mullins, but for anybody in a position of power - "Praise in public, criticize in private is an essential rule to live by a a leader, as a teacher."

In my comments section, Mullins has said that she had learned her lesson and would no longer comments on student blogs - "... I have learned my lesson as a young professional to not comment on blogs outside of work."

The key issue that has come up here is what constitutes being professional? Was it unprofessional of Lindsey Mullins to comment on my blog? I don't believe it was unprofessional of her to do that. She's left several good comments on my blog before. Click here to see an example.

It was not the best decision to criticize one of her students on my blog. Mullins was not conducting herself in a professional manner by doing that.

Does this make Lindsey Mullins unprofessional? No. This is one snafu over nearly four years of being a professor at Concord. Has she made some other unprofessional snafus before? There are a few incidents from her first year that I can think of, but she has definitely improved as a professor over the years.

I was Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian during her first two semesters at Concord. That was in the 2007-2008 academic year. I came back to the staff for the fall 2009 semester. I noticed a huge turnaround in the way Mullins conducted herself at the meetings. It was a much-more professional manner.

One thing I would like to point out is that the last post about Mullins was not an attack on her. It was not me saying that she was a bad adviser. It was me asking a question - "Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser?" and giving the evidence that was in front of me. The only problem with that was that there was not enough evidence presented.

Is she a bad adviser because she criticized MariLuz Diaz' work on my blog? There are so many components to being a newspaper adviser that one instance cannot make one entirely good or bad at advising. Was it the best decision? No, it wasn't. Should we throw her under the bus for it? No, we shouldn't.

We're all human. We all make mistakes. Have I made them? Yes. A couple, at least. That was a joke - my life is one mistake after another. We all make mistakes and one shouldn't ruin our reputation.

Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser? That depends on one key element - does she advise the newspaper staff well. There's not a journalism program at Concord, and the "Comm. Arts" major that it does fall under is a joke, so the staff gets most of its advising from her.

Is she advising the staff well? Are they putting out a good product? This is the first semester I can honestly say the newspaper staff has no influence from me. There are no staff members I worked closely with and nobody on that staff has ever asked me for help. My influence - which basically means all the stuff I learned regarding running The Concordian before Mullins took over as adviser - is gone.

This is what a 100% Lindsey Mullins led newspaper looks like. Go to and look around. If it looks good, then Lindsey Mullins is a good newspaper adviser.


  1. I'm nearly 25 years away from my days with the Concordian. Twenty-one of those years, I've spent with the Princeton Times, so I've fooled a lot of good professionals, including two local icons of journalism, Barbara Hawkins and the late Jim Terry. From what I've seen of the Concordian in passing (take it from me, websites aren't always the best indication of what a paper's like in quality), the Concordian meets the needs of its audience. It seems a little column-heavy, but for a free paper run by part-time students, it is good.

  2. I read the latest column from Ms. Diaz. Sometimes, I think collegiate columnists are too insular and, with a little research, the funding issue she referred to in her article was a little exagerrated. I also thought her use of the term "religious fanatics" was a bit much.

  3. Jeff,

    You're right- for what it is, it's good. As I've said before in this blog about the paper, it's not necessarily where you go for hard-hitting news or anything breaking, but it's an entertaining read for the most part.

    And yeah, about Diaz' column... My first thought after reading it was "I guess I have another blog to write" lol. The funny thing here is that there was a comment in the original blog post that started all of this telling Diaz that she needed to research things better.

  4. This is interesting. I hadn't heard anything about this until recently, but I can say that I do find Diaz's more interesting because of what they are than what they're about. Opinion is opinion, but really. We've kind of made a habit of going through her works and counting grammatical errors. I think she does have a lot of potential and I wish her the best, but it seems like her pieces are less about growing professionally and more about ranting. I really hope she finds her voice and an appropriate way to share her views without stuffing them down readers' throats.