Our View: A journalistic Dark Age

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Jan 292009

As we see it, journalism is headed toward a Dark Age. As centuries-old newspapers close their doors and veteran protectors of written democracy are thrown out onto the streets of an increasingly virtual communication world, we’d just like to say, through all of it, that we’re proud we haven’t asked for a bailout.

And while journalists haven’t resorted to begging Congress to save our sinking ship –/kudos to us once again –/we are disappointed that impending fear and innate survival instincts have forced members of our kin against one another.

Wednesday, owners of The Denver Post said that if the Rocky Mountain News were sold, they would take control of the Denver Newspaper Agency –/the company co-owned by E.W. Scripps Co. and MediaNews that publishes both newspapers under a joint operating agreement — and publish only The Post.

If pending change, and possibly financial doom, were not bearing down on these two papers, would they be set on eliminating the other?

We think not.

Last night, 150 Rocky supporters gathered outside the Denver Newspaper Agency and each bore a single candle representing each one of the 150 years the Rocky Mountain News has printed the news for Coloradans and the nation.

It is images like this that we hope pull on the heart and purse strings –/of the Post owners; the executives at E.W. Scripps Co.,/heck, John Doe sitting at his table without his morning newspaper –/and motivate people to advocate for journalism and democracy’s survival.

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Victim identifies White as alleged attacker in court

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Jan 292009
Authors: Stephen Lin

The third of several victims scheduled to testify in the case against an ex-CSU employee who is charged with multiple counts of burglary and sexual assault, identified her alleged attacker Samuel Kase White in court Friday.

The trial, which began early Jan. 26 with jury selection followed with opening statements from the prosecution on Jan. 28, entered its fourth day with testimonies from the victims and several witnesses.

When asked by the Deputy District Attorney for Larimer County Emily Humphrey prosecutor to identify the person in the courtroom who sexually assaulted her, the victim pointed to the defendant White, 31, the man she believed broke into her house and raped her.

After getting drunk at a local club Route 34, in September 2007, the woman and her roommates left for home with a few friends. Together they smoked marijuana and watched a DVD.

By the end of the night, only the victim, one male friend with whom she had an on-again-off-again relationship and her two housemates remained to sleep in the home.

The victim said she woke in the middle of the night to see a “silhouette in her doorway,” which she assumed was her male friend.

The man proceeded to engage in intimate acts and attempted to have intercourse, until the victim realized the man was not wearing a condom. After telling him to get one, the man asked “Where?” which was when the victim realized it was not her friend.

The woman then testified that she immediately left for the bathroom and attempted to wake up her roommate and her male friend.

The victim’s roommate testified that she was “crying hysterically” when she woke her up. Because she was still under the influence of alcohol from the night before, the roommate said she did not understand and did not get up to help the victim.

The woman then woke her male friend, made him go to her room and they entered to find the attacker standing naked holding his pants in front of him.

The victim said that she demanded that he leave and then left the room to “hide.”

While the male friend escorted the naked assailant to the front door, the intruder said, “I was here with my girl.”

The victim, who said she was still in shock from the night before, called the police the next day.

She later identified White in a police line-up after he was arrested Dec. 3 2007.

As the woman finished testifying, emotions flowed forth and she burst into tears while exiting the courtroom.

The trial is scheduled to continue at 8:30 a.m. Monday and both the prosecutor and the defense said they anticipate the trial will proceed for another week.

Crime Beat Reporter Stephen Lin can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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CSU alumni, former financial adviser to present on graduating debt-free

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Jan 292009
Authors: Natasha Pepperl

To provide students with knowledge and insight needed to achieve financial success, CSU alumni and former corporate financial adviser Kyle Shelley will present the life skills he believes are essential today.

Shelley will give a free presentation, sponsored by the Associated Students of CSU, titled “Young-in-Debt-Change$” in the Lory Student Center Theater from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Shelley said his presentation will offer “a young, unique and new way of understanding our finances.” He will discuss spending plans, credit scores, credit cards and how to graduate debt-free.

Shelley left his job as vice president of Cannon Financial Institute – where he trained financial advisors for top companies such as Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch – in order to found All in Education.

According to the company Web site, All in Education was created in order to “impart understanding of financial life skills to young adults around the nation.”

Now, he leads All in Education as its president and CEO.

Shelley said college degrees alone do not allow people to be successful and believes financial skills and knowledge are vital in this process. Through All in Education, he delivers practical financial information imperative in avoiding failure.

Believing students are growing “dumber and dumber when it comes to finances,” Shelley said, “There’s a void of financial life skill literacy.”

“Average college students graduate with over $300,000 dollars of credit card debt and $200,000 of student loans,” he said.

Shelley attributes this phenomenon to the way financial information is taught to students. He said his lectures are humorous and designed to evoke emotion.

“Our generation needs to be entertained if it has any effect on our life,” Shelley said.

ASCSU president Taylor Smoot said Shelley is giving his presentation for free. Smoot said Shelley commented, “(he’d) love to give back to (his) school.”

Shelley said he has seen former alumni struggle because of poor financial decisions they have made and does not want present students to repeat their mistakes. As a result, he plans to couple his credentials with his personal youth to deliver an engaging and helpful message.

Smoot said the event will be “really beneficial and educational” and full of “real life information.” He added that understanding finances is especially important in light of the recession.

“I recommend any student who can make it to make it,” Smoot said.

Staff writer Natasha Pepperl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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FoCo City Council, Mayor nominations to begin next month

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Jan 292009
Authors: Trevor Simonton

Fort Collins residents over the age of 21 can begin submitting nomination petitions for three City Council positions and the office of Mayor on Feb. 6, but many students, all of whom these legislative bodies affect, said they are relatively unfamiliar with the council.

Drew Murphy, a senior speech communication student at CSU, said he regrets that, although he said he cares about local politics, students like him are “pretty uninformed” about the City Council.

“I wish I was more informed on the motives and actions of the council,” he said. “I feel like it’s a short-sight that a lot of students might have.”

City Council deals with a deluge of local issues, ranging from Transfort bus fares to local road construction and rental housing.

But District Four Council member Wade Troxell said students should be particularly interested in how the council deals with the hotly contested “three-unrelated law,” which restricts the number of unrelated persons that can share one house.

“It’s an important issue. It limits housing and raises prices,” hesaid, encouraging students to make their qualms about the law heard by the council and the Associated Students of CSU, whom Troxell said has been “very active” in attending council meetings.

“ASCSU is critical for bringing forth the issues of the student population, who are very much citizens of Fort Collins,” he said.

In his State of the City address on Tuesday, Mayor Doug Hutchinson outlined some of the council’s future goals, including a continued effort to develop the Mason Corridor and the north College business area.

Council members also widely agreed that bettering the water conservation of this semi-arid city is another vital future consideration.

The coming city election will look to replace only three of the six district seats on the Council, so that – much like in Congressional Elections – a wave of inexperience doesn’t overwhelm the legislative body.

Though these positions are open to students and recently graduated alumni who have been registered to vote for more than a year and have not been convicted of a felony, current Council members said they believe candidacy of such youth will likely not see success.

David Roy, a near seven-year council veteran that’s served the longest amount of time of the six members, said he has seen several students run in past elections and lose but also said students should not be dismayed by the odds.

“I wouldn’t say it’s predominant; I think the youngest elected council member was about 30 years old,” he said. “But it’s not about age, demographics or socioeconomics. It’s about whether you care about the city having good leadership.”

Though official declarations don’t begin until February, Tom Griggs and Doug Hutchinson have declared interest in running and re-running for mayor, respectively, while Ben Manvel, Dale Lockwood and Kelly Ohlson have declared candidacy for city districts 1, 3 and 5, respectively. Lockwood will be the only one of the three not currently maintaining a position on council.

Staff writer Trevor Simonton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Deliver Darfur holds benefit to raise awareness, money for victims

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Jan 292009
Authors: Ariel SenaCavillo

Deliver Darfur, a Fort Collins-based non-profit clothing company, and several local bands will gather Saturday at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House in Old Town to raise awareness about the ongoing conflict in Sudan, Africa.

The organization, founded by CSU alumna and former Collegian photographer Rachel Robichaux and senior sports medicine major Carly Knauff, formed in 2007 to help educate the public about the African conflict, which has left millions of Darfur citizens murdered, raped, enslaved or displaced.

“We were like, ‘Oh my God, why don’t people know about this?'” Robichaux said.

Musicians Dan Craig, Young Coyotes, Bad Weather California and The Wheel will perform throughout the night in congruence with Deliver Darfur apparel sales and a silent auction to raise money for the International Rescue Committee.

An optional $10 donation will be collected at the door along with apparel ranging in prices from $5 to $15.

Through their events in the Denver and Fort Collins areas, they have raised more than $2,000 for the organization and hope to raise the same amount Saturday.

“This is bigger than just a few shirts,” Robichaux said.

Conflict arose in 2003 when rebels in the region clashed with the Sudanese government over rights issues.

These rebels, Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Army, do not support Janjaweed, whose origins are with Arabic-speaking nomadic tribes, who have been accused of war crimes.

“It’s like the Holocaust all over again,” Robichaux said.

Although both Robichaux and Knauff will be leaving Fort Collins soon, the two still plan on raising awareness through their Web site http://deliverdarfur.com.

The Deliver Darfur event at Everyday Joe’s will start at 7 p.m. and is located 144 S. Mason St.

Staff writer Ariel Sena-Cavillo can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Colleges in a crunch

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Jan 292009
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Following a $7.5 million plunge in state funding for CSU this fiscal year and a presumably larger one due in the next, interim CSU President Tony Frank said Thursday that although he does not support a privatized tuition model, funding options are running low.

After receiving recommendations of a $100 million statewide cut to higher education from Gov. Bill Ritter this week, Frank said he believes the Joint Budget Committee and General Assembly will heed the governor’s words, potentially resulting in heightened tuition costs in coming years.

Frank compared the process of privatization – an option which allows universities to make up for a lacking state funding system by hiking tuition rates – to a car sales model, in which an entity selling a vehicle sets a price higher than what the product costs and then discounts the automobile according to the person purchasing it.

Frank said he hopes CSU will not have to resort to raising prices for students, an option which CU-Boulder and the University of Northern Colorado have already stated they’re considering.

“I think the problem is that for public higher education . we’re not in the business of turning profit,” he said. “But to the extent that the state of Colorado – and that means all of us, not just the state government – doesn’t solve the problem of how to fund various public services, there aren’t a lot of choices other than charging people more if the state is going to contribute less.”

Many argue, though, that institutions of higher learning already condone a more hybrid model of privatized funding.

Nate Haas, head spokesperson for the University of Northern Colorado, said their model still depends on the receipt of some state dollars but would allow the university to have a multi-year pricing plan in place that would not fluctuate according to the amount of state funding granted.

“The scramble is on every year,” he said. “We’d like to have a (privatized) model like this in place so that when times like this come along, we’re well-equipped to handle it. It’s not just a matter of balancing the checkbook, but instead a matter of giving us a plan for years to come.”

Haas said that by giving individual institution governing boards the ability to set and adjust tuition, schools would also gain the ability to package financial aid, grants and scholarships with increased flexibility, discounting rates according to the student receiving them.

“We wouldn’t be ignoring our duty to provide funding and financial aid packages to students who are most in need,” he said.

While Haas said he got the feeling that interest in this model extended past his own campus, CSU political science professor John Straayer said a decreased demand for state funds would be “unwise to the extreme.”

“When a business or industry decides where they want to be, they look for, among the things, a solid infrastructure, solid higher education funding and solid transportation models,” he said.

“In economic bad times, what do you want to do? You want to tear apart the pieces of the public apparatus that make the state most economically viable – And that is absurd. To privatize a state university is off-the-charts irresponsible.”

Frank said he will continue to gather suggestions from faculty, staff and his own cabinet regarding different money-saving tactics, which so far include salary reductions, position eliminations and furloughs, or unpaid leave.

“There has been a strong sense from across various areas that people would prefer to look at salary reductions as opposed to loss of jobs,” he said.

He said personnel cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, which ends June 30, are unlikely, though cuts for the 2009 to 2010 fiscal year “do look deeper.”

State budget hearings begin March 11, and in mid-April, Frank said, a draft budget will be turned over to the campus for review and comment.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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A prison by any other name still smells of history

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Jan 292009
Authors: The Editorial Board Daily Trojan USC

(U-WIRE) – The infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is slated to reopen in February, complete with a new name and a purportedly new moral construct.

Now officially the Baghdad Central Prison, Abu Ghraib, in its heyday, held anywhere between 40,000 and 60,000 prisoners, a number that dwarfs the couple of hundred detained at the similarly notorious Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.

In 2004, The New Yorker and “60 Minutes” both drew attention to heinous human rights violations perpetrated at Abu Ghraib, setting in motion a media firestorm.

Chilling photographs emerged from within the tempest: a female prison guard flips a jovial thumbs up at the camera as she poses next to a naked, blind-folded inmate; a male guard forces hoods over the heads of naked prisoners, while an unconscious man lies in the foreground, “I’m a rapist [sic]” written on his bare thigh; two prison guards stand behind a pyramid of tangled, naked bodies – they clasp arms and give another cavalier thumbs up, with all the nonchalance of a birthday snapshot.

The Abu Ghraib images sent a shudder around the world. The menial officers involved were given slaps on the wrists or short prison sentences, while officials higher up on the pecking order remained legally unscathed.

Where the legal system refused to enforce accountability, the media and the American public issued an indignant outcry.

It is this upwelling of unanimous disgust that allows us to hope that history will not be painted over. Americans saw the atrocities of Abu Ghraib in the conveniently lurid photos splashed across the front pages of newspapers; it would, however, be foolish to assume that this type of abuse was unique to Iraq. The prison guards and soldiers who do not have the bravado to take photographs still remain largely unchecked by moral authority.

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 Uncategorized  Comments Off on RamTalk
Jan 292009

I didn’t know the comic Repeat/Delete’s name was literal seriously, the same strip two days in a row? Next time delete it and save me some time.

Ladies, forget the engineers and go for a construction major. After all. we can build you a log cabin. somewhere in Aspen.

With my 300 level JTC class jam packed with sorority girls, it suddenly doesn’t surprise me that American journalism is a dying industry.

Does anyone else want to see this semi-feud between the top two and the bottom two comics turn into full blown WAR!? I Do!

To the kid in my class who thought Chicago was next to Seattle…I’m insulted that we got into the same university. Glad to see we set our standards high.

I was going to refund my books but apparently I missed the deadline… by a year. Thanks CSU Bookstore for making sure I knew the deadline was in 2008!

CSU experts will discover the only reason why college kids go to school in the mountains is because they can get drunk faster

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Campus Eye

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Jan 292009

Azra Jaganjac, (left) a visiting scholar for the department of chemical and biological engineering from the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, takes a leisurely stroll with a friend through the CSU campus outside of the Forestry Building Thursday.

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Recessing the music industry

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Jan 282009
Authors: Ian Mahan

In the midst of what some are calling the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and with a price increase hitting iTunes in April, some local business employees said the poor economy might force the music industry to find a compromise between online music purchases and physical CD sales.

Mark Cheatham, the manager at local CD/Vinyl store, The Finest, said they’ve been looking for new ways to survive after struggling for about a year.

“It’s been hard for us, the sale of new CDs are down,” he said.

“In the past year we have closed the Greeley and Windsor stores in order to consolidate what we have into one store,” he added later.

However, Cheatham said he does not solely blame the economy.

“I hate seeing people only listening to one song from an entire album and missing out on all the other great stuff because of digital downloading,” he said.

In order to give their customers more of a selection, The Finest has introduced a new in-store mixing feature that allows consumers to come in and download songs and make custom mixes.

“There seems to be a lot of interest in the idea,” Cheatham said.

Not all Fort Collins businesses have been struggling though.

Rock ‘N’ Robin, a combination music supply and smoke shop is still bringing in revenue. And, much like The Finest, students are a majority of their business.

“We’re still doing fine,” said Beau Boykin, an employee at the store, “not many people seem to be coming in for music though due to online sales.”

While both businesses thrive on student purchases, students have their own ideas about where the music industry might be heading.

“I think that with online music prices going up you could possibly see an increase in illegal downloading,” said Zach Capshaw, a sophomore environmental health major who spends a majority of his time listening to and writing music. “Maybe a return to the early forms of entertainment will happen, where people went to shows and plays will start to happen again.”

Annie Doyle, a health and exercise science major said she would buy CDs over digital songs, especially with the price increase, because she feels as though, “it gives more to the artist.”

Not all students are as optimistic, however.

Jackie Benson, a sophomore psychology major said, “. the entertainment industry is going to have to start budgeting themselves better, maybe even decreasing the money they spend on production costs.”

Staff writer Ian Mahan can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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