Archive for the ‘From the editor’s desk’ Category

Graduation speakers are lame

April 9, 2008

By David Harris, Editor in Chief

I bet I can guess what reaction the class of May 2008 had when they say who graduation speakers were.
All of us let out a collective “who?”
Yes all three graduation speakers are people no one has heard of. David Baker Lewis (5 p.m. ceremony), Robert Froelich ((9:30 a.m. ceremony) and Chuck Leavell (1:30 p.m. ceremony) are the three graduation speakers this year.
Perhaps my dreams were too grandiose last year when Bill Clinton spoke at the University of Michigan’s commencement. I thought CMU could bring in a big name who could inspire me to do great things. But such is not the case.
I will get to hear Lewis speak. I’m sure Lewis, who is chairman of law firm Lewis & Munday and has sat on boards for The Kroger Company and H&R Block, will have good things to say. He has been successful in his field.
But graduation is supposed to be memorable. In 20 years, you are supposed to remember that great graduation speaker you had. It is a special day in your life.
I will probably forget by the end of May.
But I will cease to bicker and I will offer a solution. Move the damn ceremony to Kelly/Shorts!
Michigan does it at Michigan Stadium. Why can’t CMU move it to its football stadium? Sure, you are playing with fire when you plan something outside in early May. So what?
You can have one ceremony, bring in a big-time speaker and more people could go because of the bigger venue.
Simple as that.
But I suppose that would make too much sense.

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Lifeline section — again

March 26, 2008

Another lifeline section, another controversy.
What else is new?
Wednesday’s lifeline section depicted several sex toys on the cover with an accompanying story about the products. There also was a story about a CMU alumna, Susan Colvin, and her rise to prominence in the exotic novelties industries.
Of course, several people have been criticizing the taste of the article. It’s “yellow journalism” one reader says.
Again, as I said with the Pope Benedict illustration, GROW UP! Sure it’s racy. Sure it’s unconventional.
But we are all college students (which makes up the vast majority of our readers). Don’t you think we can look at this stuff intelligently — maybe learn a little?
For instance, by reading the article you will find that the industry is growing, Colvin said. No longer is the stereotype about sex toys of men buying them about women. Women, Colvin says in the story, are becoming more comfortable buying them.
Doesn’t this say something about society? It shows that more people are becoming comfortable with their sexuality.
At the root of the Colvin article is a good old American success story. A minority broke into the field dominated by the majority and proved she could be successful. Nevermind that it is an “unacceptable” industry — she proved she could do it and it is a great human interest story.
So act like you’ve been there before. Looking at a dildo really isn’t that bad. It won’t hurt you.
Look past that stuff, and read into the story. You, as I was, can be enlightened.

David Harris
Editor in Chief

Wednesday’s illustration of Pope causes controversy

March 14, 2008

By David Harris, Editor in Chief

Call me insensitive. Call me stupid.
But I don’t really see anything wrong with the illustration depicting Pope Benedict XVI in Wednesday’s lifeline section front of Central Michigan Life.
Apparently others feel differently.
I have received a number of phone calls and letters to the editor expressing that depiction was in poor taste. People have said they were offended by the picture.
They say it is demeaning toward the pope. One caller even suggested it reminded him of the sex scandal with priests and little boys.
Another caller said that the media often portrays Catholics in the negative light, and he is tired of it.
All I see is an illustration poking fun of how the Catholic Church moved St. Patty’s day from Monday to Friday. It’s light-hearted.
It has nothing to do with previous Church scandals nor is it trying to demean the pope.
A caller said that my position was ignorant. I guess we have a difference of opinion.
If you were to put an illustration of a black man with a big lip and he was being hung, the caller said, there would be an outrage. True, there would be an outrage.
But to compare an illustration of that nature to the one in Wednesday’s CM Life is way out of whack.
Two callers demanded a retraction and apology. There will be none, not because it would hurt my ego, but because it is unnecessary.
Obviously, we welcome any and all criticisms in CM Life. It is important that we get as many voices as possible.

Before hanging up, a caller asked me not to put anything like that in the newspaper anymore. All I ask is that you have a bit of a sense of humor.

Get real President Rao

February 24, 2008

University President Michael Rao is just doing his job when he lobbies for more money from the state.

Like any other good university president, he wants the best for his institution. But he needs to get back to reality if he thinks CMU is going to get more funding from the state of Michigan. He made his case in a guest column in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080224/OPINION02/802240574/1068/OPINION

He writes how CMU is receiving the same appropriation in real dollars as 10 years ago. He talks about how most CMU students are from the state of Michigan and stay after graduation.

All of the above are true.

But if he can find a way for the state to churn out more money, then he should be Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s chief financial officer. More funding for CMU — or for any other Michigan institution for that matter — isn’t coming anytime soon.

It’s a shame, but it’s the harsh reality. President Rao needs to get back to that reality.

Media issues

January 29, 2008

Is there such a thing as an off-the-record speech at a public event?
According to Meghan O’Sullivan, former deputy national security adviser to President Bush, who was set to speak at Indiana University, there is.
O’Sullivan canceled her speech last Tuesday in part because the school newspaper, Indiana Daily Student, wanted to cover the event. The IDS refused to keep the speech off the record because the speech was free and open to the public.
Suddenly O’Sullivan felt “sick to her stomach” and the speech was canceled when the it was supposed to begin.
There are several issues with this.
First, contrary to some beliefs, there are no such thing as an off the record speech at a public event. The idea is proposterous.
A public forum is meant to be just that — public. If O’Sullivan wanted to have a private meeting, she should have made a list of guests and allowed only those people to attend.
You don’t send out a press release (which coincedintally said the event was off the record) and not expect a media outlet to come.
Central Michigan Life sometimes experiences these issues. Sometimes a reporter is not allowed in because people at the event “may not feel comfortable to speak freely with you here.”
To me, not allowing a media outlet to attend an event for that reason is defeating the purpose of a culture of exchanging ideas.

Monday package

January 14, 2008

You may be wondering what today’s package on page 3 is today. We are starting a new package called “Snippets about…” Last Monday we did it about students moving in, and today it was about things to do on the weekends.

We want to have quick-reading tidbits. I hope you enjoy.

Any ideas for future topics? Let me know!

first blog

January 13, 2008

“The only person who reads some blogs are the blogger and his mother.”

Well, here you go, mom, I have my own blog. For the rest of you, Central Michigan Life will is getting into the game and starting blogs. We will have blogs on entertainment, sports and campus issues. Stay tuned for more.

David Harris

Editor in Chief