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‘Your News, Your Views’: Speak up

Attention all Blazers. This editorial is for you. This is for the 3,764 students and staff who picked up a copy of last week’s issue. This is for every member of the student body who scoffs at the errors and complains about the content to friends instead of to the staff. This is for our audience.
 We try to keep our readers informed with stories covering campus crime, student health concerns, and political activism. We entertain you with restaurant, movie, and game reviews. We are desperately trying to include you. We want to engage you.
 This year’s editorials have asked big questions. Questions that remain unanswered and unacknowledged. Does the freedom of speech give us the right to be offensive? Are we willing to sacrifice our ethical integrity for athletic success? What is the best way to approach sex ed? How can we translate a month of cancer awareness into a year of achievement?�
 Silence.
 Come on. This is the age of electronics. Most of us can e-mail from our cell phones. Comments can be left on the webpage. Phone calls can be made to our office. Shoot, The Spectator is even on Facebook. Since communicating is as simple as punching some buttons, I am beginning to wonder: Have we become too apathetic to form opinions?
 Perhaps the problem is the range of coverage.  If The Spectator is not covering the issues and events that light your fire, kindly let us know what would. We are always hungry for story suggestions. This is a big campus, with a lot going on, so help direct our attention to what matters.
 This newspaper is a forum, a medium through which you can express yourselves, challenge society, and generally raise hell. Take advantage while you still can. Because once you leave VSU, the press will not likely be falling all over itself to figure out what you need, like and want.
 The Spectator motto is “Your News, Your Views.” While we do enjoy the rhyme, it’s not there for purely aesthetic purposes.  Help us help you.
 And please, keep in mind that we are essentially writing, designing, and publishing a small book each week. And we are students. Students just like you. Students that make mistakes just like you do. Instead of writing us to say “Ha!” when you spot an error in the paper, send us some suggestions for avoiding it in the future. Better yet, offer to come down and copy-edit some articles with us Wednesday afternoons.
 This is the third-to-last issue of the year. Prove me wrong, shut me up. Send us your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, rants, raves, classifieds, whatever. Just let us know.

This editorial was written by Francesca Zagami (frzagami@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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3 comments

  1. I’m not posting on this again, but that makes 2x that the spectator deleted my comments which were in no way libel or slander, in response to an editorial with the very puropose of advocating students to express our opinions to them…Hypocrisy?? I think so!!

  2. Wow. Real Mature. I am so glad the spectator likes to waste space.

  3. Francesca,

    My name is Donovan Head, I wrote the letter to the editor which
    was featured in the 11/05 Spectator, that I believe your Op-Ed article
    “Your News, Your Views: Speak up” was a response to.

    Overall, I agree, if a club or organization on campus is having
    news worthy event- they need to contact someone on the Spectator’s
    staff. However, in regards to the Spectator missing entirely the voting
    that took place on campus- at the first in the nation college campus
    advanced voting center (not put on by a club or organization, but by
    the university as a whole), I feel your arguments do not apply.

    That being said, I sincerely hope that your article was not what
    it seemed to be, a pathetic attempt by the Spectator’s staff to use its
    readers, especially my self and the VSU Student poll workers as the
    scapegoats as to why our student newspaper missed such a historic event
    for our university. If that is the case, then you are missing some very
    critical facts, and please do not forget he job of the Spectator is to
    provide VSU students with the news, not the other way around. (And if
    you’ll notice, I did take your advice right after I noticed the
    mistake, and I complained to your Editor in Chief, what I did not
    expect was for the Spectator’s staff to act defensively and blame the
    students both in the immediate response to my letter to the editor, and
    subliminally in your article; if you are serious about wanting
    feedback- then you must act professionally and take criticism in
    stride.)

    First of all, the Spectator ran two prior stories on VSU’s polling
    place, despite the horrendous error of giving students the wrong dates
    for advanced voting, these two stories should mean that the Spectator’s
    staff was aware of voting on campus, unless of course they have a
    tendency to forget huge details in the stories they report on,
    especially the ones they report on more than once. Also, a little
    Government 101 here, every year on the first Tuesday in November, we
    have this thing called Election Day, maybe you’ve heard of it? And in
    Georgia, the week leading up to Election Day is advanced voting, and
    all Georgia registered voters can avoid the lines and vote early. Now,
    if I need to- I can remind your editors a month in advance of Election
    Day, so you guys don’t miss it again?

    Secondly, all of the local news stations from Tallahassee and
    Albany (NBC, ABC and CBS) as well as the Valdosta Daily Times, and VSU
    News covered this story, and they did not need to be reminded of when
    election day/early voting was either. In addition, it was on the front
    page of Valdosta State’s website for an entire two weeks, but I guess I
    shouldn’t overestimate how resourceful the Spectator’s staff is trained
    to be. Also, there were a total of 600 (in color) fliers posted all
    over campus for those two weeks, and if any of you happened to drive by
    the UC, you would have noticed the numerous red “Vote Here” signs at
    every entrance. All of this caught the attention of the over 200
    students who voted here, plus the many more who wanted to but had to
    change their registration to Lowndes County so they can vote with us
    next time- but I guess, despite all of that- something even more
    obvious is needed to get the attention of the Spectator’s staff. On a
    personal note, I saw Dr. Miller walk by the Executive Dining Room
    twice, when voting was taking place, and I sent Danielle Everson along
    with all of my other facebook friends an invitation to the facebook
    group “Those Who Vote Smart-Vote at VSU” which has over 250 members. I
    just can’t believe given all of the advertisement around campus, and
    the fact that you guys attempted to cover the story twice before, the
    Spectator missed it when their coverage was most needed- and now tries
    to blame us, the students, for their being oblivious.

    I could not imagine the Atlanta Journal of Constitution missing
    Election Day, blaming their irresponsibility on the people of Atlanta,
    and instead covering a circus that left town three days before the
    paper was published- can you see what a joke this makes the Spectator
    look like? I have had countless students come up to me, telling me they
    agree with the sentiments I expressed in the letter to the editor, and
    that finally someone challenged them to do better.

    I do have to say, the last two editions of the Spectator were of
    much better quality than the one I referenced in my letter to the
    editor, and I hope this trend continues. I am confident the same
    mistake will not be made next year, and my only request in this message
    to you is that the staff stops blaming others for their mistakes, takes
    responsibility for them, and learns from them so they do not happen
    again.

    Thanks and God bless:
    Donovan

    P.S: In the cartoon that went along with your article, the boy
    represents the Spectator, right? Because given the facts that I laid
    out above, that is the only way it makes sense. Also, if you are
    wondering why I am son presumptive that your article was a response to
    my letter to the editor, it is because I have seen no other related
    complaints in recent editions that would spur such an argument by the
    Spectator’s staff.

    Donovan Head
    Chairman
    Valdosta State College Republicans
    (404) 909-0758
    tdhead@valdosta.edu

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