Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What they do? They smile in your face, all the time they wanna take your place...

My mother once said to me "if you put everything you have into something, you shouldn't just let it go to waste." Very good advice, not surprising, but very good advice. Her words are ringing in my ears as I'm writing this entry, because this was not how I envisioned my last semester on staff at my student newspaper running its course.

The papers are littered with errors, there is little to no leadership being exhibited by the executive editors, and one of them continues her bold attempts to usurp my authority as Sports Editor. Long story short, the once-respected (and in some circles, feared) campus newspaper at Delaware State University has become a joke. And I'm not sure how I feel about that.

The situation that bothers me the most is the fact that one of the executive editors, who once called me her "mentor," is now taking every opportunity to try and scoop me on a sports story or assign story ideas from my section to writers that I don't know from Adam and that aren't even on staff. Now this story goes back to mid-February, when the previous editor-in-chief was fired for egregious conduct (and not to mention personality conflicts with the advisor), and that this girl, who was content to write sports and stay in the background, became one of the folks in charge, and apparently that gave her the right to try and jack the sports section from a higher plateau.

Sour grapes coming from me? Not on your life. Although it's been suggested several times by people close to me that I should've applied for editor-in-chief, that's not what I want, nor is it where my heart lies. I'm a sports journalist, through and through, I believe I can have an impact from the sports page more than I can being the HNIC, and my track record the previous four years has shown that.

So why do I feel like I've been betrayed, stabbed in the back, double crossed, etc.? It's as simple as this: All new brooms sweep clean. Meaning that sure she was this meek, demure, timid little sports fanatic in the beginning, but once the broom started leaving dust trails, the ego, the suspicious attitude, the selfishness all began to rise to the surface. If you're trying to take my spot, just say so. You've been unsuccessful thus far, but you're more than welcome to try. Even though you've already tabbed my replacement, and he's a good kid and good writer, but what if he doesn't stand strong? Are you going to fire him and make yourself sports editor? Only time will tell I guess.

The other thing that bothers me about the direction and staffing of the newspaper is that it's become a clique-ish environment. If you're not in their circle, you're S.O.L. Like the photographers who refuse to take pictures for any football game. Oh sure, there are pictures accompanying the football stories, but the cutline always has "courtesy of The News Journal" at the bottom. What part of the game is that? You can't show bias towards any campus clubs/organizations or athletes for any reason. Not because football season is too cold and you're too lazy to snap a picture, or because you don't like the Alphas and the AKAs and you can't be bothered to take a picture, overlooking the fact that they did after all, you know, win a step show or something.

Finally, the newspaper office, granted it was a place of business, still was a place where regular students felt comfortable in coming in to say hello and converse with folks. I remember my first year on the job where people just routinely stopped in to say hey, compliment us on the paper, and then a friendly conversation would start. Now it's like folks are scared to or don't want to come in for fear of being embarrassed by the paper in some way (note: I did put my ex-roommate on blast once, but he deserved it. I swear :) ).

I guess time keeps on slippin' into the future, and I should've gotten used to the changes. However, I still feel like this isn't what I spent four years of my life working for. A decent student paper has turned into the HBCU version of the National Enquirer, and I can't understand why. Then again, maybe it's not meant for me to understand.

Posted by Chris at 10:41 AM | link

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I completely understand how you feel, Chris. I'd say this to ole girl trying to jack your section: sit down and talk with her, in her office, privately. Tell her your concerns and basically tell her to let you do the job that you were hired to do. Clearly, you do this because you love the Hornet - not because you need the clips. So they honestly need you - as someone who really cares about the quality of the publication - more than you need it. If talking to the editor one-on-one doesn't work, and you feel it's a torch you want to carry, take the issue to your advisor or governing board for intervention.

No editor should be hindering you from doing your job or taking over responsibilities assigned to you when you are willing to do them.

Posted by Blogger T Dot @ 12:22 PM, October 31, 2006 #

Co-signing with T-Dot.

And as an addendum... you're almost out of there. So while I understand you're discouraged by the direction of the paper, be thankful that you had four good years there to develop yourself.

In your time left, think about taking a young promising staffer under your wing and teaching them all you know. That way, your influence and dedication to the paper's quality will stick around even after you've left.

Posted by Blogger Duck @ 9:13 PM, October 31, 2006 #

Aren't you like 28 years old? let the paper go, dude! let someone else do it!

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2:28 PM, November 01, 2006 #
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