Jan 242008
Authors: Phil Elder

When the student body believed that it could not possibly lose more faith in its president, after grossly misrepresenting the student body through unprecedented and uncontroverted tuition hikes and his unresponsive, even belittling performances at ASCSU, Penley pulls another rabbit out of his hat.

On Tuesday, at approximately 1 p.m., Penley met with Gannett Company, Inc., regarding a possible corporate newspaper takeover, without the consent, even the knowledge, of the student body or even the Collegian officers.

Gannett, responsible for such bland and mediocre prints as the USA Today, wishes to mold the Collegian into another waste of paper, take the student voice out of the voice of the students and potentially even charge for copies thereof.

World-renowned for their profit obsession and thus representing all the journalistic integrity of Good Morning America and avoiding any disputatious or investigative reporting, Gannett would mold the controversial, semiprofessional college newspaper that we all enjoy to some extent into a colorful bastardization of news print reminiscent of the high school newspaper that none of us enjoyed.

I’m quite certain that, at some point in all of your collegiate experiences, the Collegian has pissed you off. Its opinion writers are edgy and often sensationalist, its cartoons have been deemed offensive on at least one occasion, and its editor in chief printed an audacious attack against our president, which instantly received international attention.

But if there is one area, one concentration in the field of journalism in which we excel beyond all others, it is controversy. And though the paper can, and does, infuriate members of the student body, it is always an interesting read.

I’m not attacking the takeover because I do not believe in corporate media ownership. CNN and BBC, the two most trusted news sources in the Western World, are both owned by corporations dedicated to media coverage and tend, at least, to keep personal opinion out of their renowned investigative reporting.

Nor am I attacking the takeover because of fear for my job. The deadlines and hate mail are stressful, the pay affords me little more than a six-pack a week and my editors are mean-spirited people.

I’m attacking this takeover, this cloak-and-dagger usurpation of the strongest voice we have as students of this institution, because it is not Penley’s business to sell us, to marginalize us or to silence us at his whim, regardless of profit gained.

I’m attacking this takeover because I will not be shut up or shut down without representation, and I refuse to let our president consider himself above and beyond the students that he is supposed to represent.

Thus it is my request of you, the student reader, regardless of your opinion regarding myself, any other columnists, the editors or any others that may have angered you in the past, to stand up against this takeover, this price tag on our voice, and to let Penley and every other party involved know that the student body will not be sold or marginalized without a very serious fight.

Phil Elder is a senior politicial science major. His column usually appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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