TWO GREAT features debuted in the Life section this week: Emily Kane's series on local road trip destinations and Dockter Duval's advice column. The Cavalier Daily also continued to inform with articles on Berkeley and UC-Davis written on-the-spot in California. Plus, Tuesday's Arts & Entertainment page contained an especially well laid-out blend of movie and book reviews along with an interesting preview of the drama department's Love's Fire (which incidentally could have been longer and, therefore, even more useful). All in all, it was a great week to read the paper every day. I do have a few questions, however:
One of the more constant complaints from readers this term has revolved around The Cavalier Daily's photography and picture captions. So far, I've dismissed most of the problems, figuring that time and experience would serve to fix the problem. Thursday's front page, however, requires comment.
Next to the story "University seeks UJC dismissal" is a photo with the following caption "Harrison Kerr Tigrett is suing the University for $1.25 million, after his one-year suspension for his role in the Ruffner Footbridge attack on Sandy Kory." Here's the odd thing: the photo is a picture of a group of students from relatively far away who appear to be heading toward a walkway. Is one of these students the elusive Tigrett? Is this walkway, in fact, the Ruffner Footbridge? If it is, why do we need a picture of it? What can such a photo possibly add to the story on the UJC lawsuits?
Unfocused photos and captions add nothing to the paper and detract from the layout and their paired stories. Let's not make readers guess what they are being shown and why.
Who found Borges?
Another question stemming from Thursday's front page: Who found Jorge Luis Borges missing poems and where were they? In an otherwise informative and interesting article, Ms. Schatz reported that some previously unpublished poems of Borges will appear in the literary journal Meridian. Please tell me who is responsible for the "newly found" poems.
Where's the logic?
Generally, I find that my philosophy background seldom has direct application in my role as ombudsman. Yet, an inconsistency in Thursday's lead editorials has led me to rethink my position.
In the first editorial on the General Assembly passage of a bill requiring "a moment of silences" in public schools, the managing board claims that although a majority opinion is usually an acceptable justification for policy decisions, "in deeply personal matters and issues of free speech ..., the government must never disregard a minority to appease the bulk of the population." This is a troublesome claim given that there is no clear alternative given, yet my concern stems from the view expressed in the second editorial.
In "Victory for free speech," the board expresses its support for the Supreme Court's ruling on mandatory student activity fee contributions, explaining that "it is encouraging to see the highest court in the country support free speech in such an overwhelming manner."
Given the standard supported in the first editorial, how can the Court's ruling support free speech given that what the ruling does is essentially silence the views of minorities who disagree with the majority's support of certain student organizations? Both opinions relate to the issues of free speech and independent religious practice, but neither issue is consistently discussed in the editorials. Ultimately, I do not care which positions the managing board adopts, but I would like them not to conflict.
Why so brief?
Why exactly was wrestler Steve Garland's accomplishment at the NCAA wrestling tournament given coverage only in "Sports in Brief?" Do you have to play basketball to receive a full article? I am glad swimmer Cara Lane's NCAA championship win made it past the sports censors. Incidentally, "Sports in Brief" is an extremely valuable part of the Sports page (where else would we hear about the women rowers?), but some events and athletes need to be better recognized.
What's it matter?
Why are we being given monthly updates on the Capital Campaign? I know that the campaign is ahead of schedule; I knew that from the past months' reports. And I am impressed that the University's diligent fundraisers were able to raise another $8.58 million in February. The simple fact is, though, that I am really not sure why I, or any University student, should care. Instead of simply posting the latest stats on the Capital Campaign, couldn't the paper tell us why the Campaign matters at all? What is being built or funded with the money? What's in it for me? If there is no angle to report, then let's just drop it. Please?
Do you have questions about the paper? Anything you would like to see in future issues? Or posted online? Send your comments to me at Ombudsman@CavalierDaily.com.