OPINION

BROOM: Welcome back

Public editor Christopher Broom outlines his wish list for The Cavalier Daily’s coverage this year

Hello and welcome to the fall semester of 2014 at the University of Virginia. I am Chris Broom, Public Editor for the Cavalier Daily, the oldest collegiate daily in the Commonwealth. I act as the voice of the reader of the paper as well as the website along with the mobile apps. I also hope to engage with other readers to learn what you think about the coverage in The Cavalier Daily, what you’d like to see done differently and what you think is missing.

The Cavalier Daily occupies an interesting and important place in the University community. It is both editorially and financially independent from the University. In recent years papers at other colleges and Universities have had run-ins with administrations unhappy with coverage. Students who work for papers funded through their schools may have an inherent conflict of interest to overcome in their reporting and their editorial writing. Hopefully, this allows the staff of The Cavalier Daily to report on and write about the University more comprehensively and, where necessary, critically.

My role in the paper’s structure is similar to the paper’s role in the University community — an independent voice to take stock of what’s going on, look at what may be missing and highlight what can be improved upon. I invite all readers to help me in an effort to hold the staff of the paper accountable for what they write and don’t write and help identify areas for improvement.

In the coming semester, I hope to see much more about the new dining contract the University just completed with Aramark. The new contract is for 20 years and the details of the contract will matter a lot for students, staff and faculty over that time. I also hope the focus on the Board of Visitors that was evident in the academic year following President Sullivan’s ouster and reinstatement will continue and strengthen. I believe that anyone who was paying attention learned how directly the BOV’s actions affect students immediately and in the future. We also saw how many alumni, staff and faculty care about the BOV’s actions and processes. Across the whole of the readership of The Cavalier Daily, there is interest in University governance.

I think it would also be helpful to explore the many schools and institutes of the University and how they work together. The Batten School has made a name for itself but is still only seven years old. A Law School/Medical School joint degree is the newest of fourteen joint degrees the law school offers. The University has experts across a wide range of fields and there are dozens of ways they are connected via joint degree programs along with institutes and research centers. Something of a map of the University’s programs would be interesting while also being helpful for current and future students.

I hope to see a continuation of very good digital coverage from the Sports writers. Especially on social media (and most especially live tweeting events) the Sports writers set themselves apart in my mind last year offering a mix of reports of the action, observations of the crowd and just enough humor to keep things from getting boring.

Lastly, though most importantly, I hope to see more careful reporting that includes more than one perspective on a topic or issue. Too often articles have quotations from one person. While I do not want reporters to seek out opposing views for the sake of some preconceived notion of balance, I would like to see, for example, what someone other than the Chair of the Honor Committee thinks about a new proposal before that committee.

Christopher Broom is the Public Editor for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at publiceditor@cavalierdaily.com or on Twitter at @CDpubliceditor.


Published August 31, 2014 in Opinion







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