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Publications hit and miss

Published: September 7, 2007
Section: Opinions


I like Pistachio Ice Cream.

My favorite TV shows are Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage.

Phew. Im so relieved that Im finally able to unabashedly reveal my true opinion to my audience: Brandeis community members.

You see, for the past two years, as News Editor, Assistant News Editor, Senior Writer and Staff Writer for another campus publication, I had to be incredibly unbiased. My writing could never let readers know how I really felt.

Not easy for anyone.

Not easy for a voluble, opinionated guy like myself.

Definitely not easy for someone very opinionated on issues such as the Arab-Israeli Crisis, which, as we all know, permeated the headlines at Brandeis last winter and spring.

Now that Im an independent student I am free to do whatever I wish. Interestingly, after considering many different options on the Brandeis campus, Im still drawn to journalism.

Maybe its because of my lessons in Brandeis small, but wonderful, journalism department, or because of my positive experience as an editorial intern at JTA, the global news service of the Jewish people, but I just could not imagine not seeing my name and articles in print.

But this time, Im going to set the agenda and Im not going to be bound by having to be an unbiased journalist.

Still, Id like to write about what I know.

And what I know is journalism.

Therefore, Id like to devote this weekly column to our campus media. Brandeis students love to complain. And, in particular, they often complain about the campus medias quality, or lack thereof.

Id like to start by offering credit where its due, and that is the appearance of Diverse City in The Hoot. Diverse City, which appeared independent of The Hoot toward the end of last semester, fills a much needed niche on campus. By teaming up with The Hoot, hopefully, more students will feel that their campus media reflects their point of view.

All in all, I think that most people agree the first edition of this years Hoot was incredibly well done. Save the humiliating error in print of having the Game On! story appear twice, including once under a headline for the story about the continuation of the Al-Quds partnership, The Hoot gave students the information they needed to know when returning to school. The Justices ombudsperson, Prof. Maura Farrelly (AMST), noticed gaping holes in the Justices coverage at the start of this academic year, which I definitely saw as well.

The Hoot covered the dropping of the Union Judiciary case against Jacob Bockelmann 09, the continuation of our partnership with Al-Quds and the ICC renovations completion. Unfortunately, the Justice missed those critical stories.

But, the Justice and its editor in chief, Rachel Marder 08, should be strongly commended for its mid-summer edition. As Prof. Farrelly notes, unlike in the real world, colleges go on hiatus for nearly four months, so it was a good move to publish an on-line edition to catch students up on what theyve been missing on their campus. Hopefully, The Hoot will do the same next summer.

But theres one thing I most certainly hope The Hoot does not copy: the Justices recent heavily biased reporting of the addition to new members to the Student Union Treasurers office. (Ha adds six new people to office, 9/4).

The story there was that Treasurer Choon Woo Ha 08 made sweeping reforms to the Treasurers office to make it more efficient for the Student Union, Student Organizations and the treasurer himself for many years to come.

But rather than focus on Has accomplishment, the Justice chose to report on the scandal of the Assistant Treasurers not being confirmed by the senate yet. Their confirmation will occur this Sunday, at this years first Student Union meeting. Im sure that had there been a Senate meeting so far this semester, the new treasurer assistants would have been confirmed.

As any student club leader knows, Ha tirelessly works to efficiently process the needs of student clubs. Ha has had to put in tens of hours each week in order to do so, and since, as I see it, he knows its not realistic to expect future student treasurers to all be as dedicated as he is, the Treasurers office must have assistants to operate smoothly.

Im nearly sure that had these treasurer assistants not been trained already and that resulted in a delay in payments, the Justice would devote coverage to that fact.
Almost laughingly was when the article continued to show the miscommunication between Ha and Union President Shreeya Sinha 09 over whether or not the new officials would be reimbursed for their meals.

The article simply missed the point: Ha appointed six people in different capacities to benefit the Student Union. The article didnt even name the appointees, showing the Justice to be more concerned with alleged disagreements than the real news, as routine and dry as it may be: Six students will now give up much of their time to help other students.

Its very noble for students to give up their time to serve other students, and the greater community. Campus journalists, including the writer of the treasurer article, give up more time than virtually anyone else on campus so that students can see a quality, comprehensive product, so the editors and reporters of our campus publications should feel a sense of pride in what they do.

It is my hope that this weekly column will advise, commend and, at times, challenge our campus journalists so that they may reach their full potential.