This archived article was written by: Erik Falor
The student run newspaper is, by precedent, a news outlet. Although over the years it has evolved into something much less noble than that, it’s heart and soul lies in reporting important events that happen on campus. Such important events as people making out on Gibby on True Eagle night, or any time that Orrin Hatch comes to visit. Students crave news reports about how much Sessions residents hate eating in the cafeteria every day, and coverage of events they were too busy playing Sega Dreamcast to participate in. These are the things that the student body demands of their newspaper.
After writing many opinion pieces over the past few months, I have slowly come to realize that nobody cares what I think. The school shouldn’t commandeer thousands of student fee dollars to print out my ramblings and ravings.
People don’t buy the New York Times to be told what to think. They buy it because the Kobe Bryant story on page two. They buy it because someday it may be fun to show their grandchildren what happened on the East coast on the day of their 34th birthday. They buy it because it makes sleeping on the park bench that much more bearable.
If people wanted to pay money to be told how to think, they could just make a campaign contribution to the Republican party, or buy a Rush Limbaugh coffee mug.
Quite frankly, I too am sick and tired of ranting about every random subject that tickles my fancy, or tickles something else. And I sympathize with those of you to whom I have subjected my quasi-senile rantings.
Which is why I tried my hand at investigative reporting for this week’s column. Investigative reporting is a comparatively noble pursuit. Everybody appreciates a nosy news reporter. Well, everybody but those who are being investigated. Digging around in other people’s closets, searching for skeletons – that’s what newspaper publishing is really about.
I had a wonderful experience trying to do just that this week when I decided to get to the bottom of what is going on with the maintenance department. It seemed to me that although there were many deep budget cuts made, they still engaged in unbridled spending. As I commenced my investigation, however, I quickly ran into some difficult, if not predictable, brick walls.
I first noticed that a potential interviewee’s demeanor would quickly change as soon as I introduced myself as a Eagle staff member. Right before my eyes I watched as the blood completely flushed from their faces, and their smiles promptly sagged southward. I can only suppose that once before there was an intrepid reporter who blew their sod-smuggling conspiracy wide open.
After that, it was nothing but the run around. One person who didn’t want to look me in the eye to answer my question told me to talk to an office that was on the other side of the campus. After making my way to the purchasing office, I was told to turn around and ask the man who I just spoke with for the information.
Instead I next went to the budget office. Unfortunately, they are in the middle of a software upgrade, and the information will not be available before our publication date. Just when I was about to give up all hope, I stumbled over the thing coveted by all investigative reporters: the golden lead.
Raelene Allred, vice president of finance & administrative services not only listened to my plea, but explained to this dogged reporter that the state legislature has failed to meet the financial needs of our institution. Sure, they gave us a new building, but they have failed to supply the operating capital sorely needed to keep it running.
If we can’t afford an $11 million building on our own, what makes them think that we can fork out the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to operate it each year? What do they want us to do, hawk Gibby at Charlie’s Pawn? Their priorities are clearly mixed up if the choose not to allocate money for education, yet want to build a dam that will kill thousands of prize trout.
In order to keep the books in the black, the maintenance department has been forced to have been cut staff down to a bare-bones roster that must be supplemented with temporary workers.
My jaunt into the world of Matt Drudge-style journalism was bittersweet at best, rancid and chunky with curdles at worst. I can only hope for higher levels of cooperation between journalism and faculty in the future. Should all go well, we will be able to read all about how the government has again dropped the ball on environment issues, much to the delight of my Green Party friends everywhere.