Daily Archives: September 25, 2009

The definition of double standard

We’re now three weeks into the school year, and three issues of the Review have gone to print. The Review staff is working diligently to cover more hard-hitting stories this year. And, while Linfield isn’t exactly known for supplying riveting story ideas, a few gems do pop up now and then.
Last week, several editors caught wind of a rumor circulating around campus. The hearsay involved a former ASLC Cabinet member who had supposedly misappropriated several thousand dollars of student body fees.
The reporter who pursued the lead was under the impression that the rumor was based in truth, as he had heard it from current and former ASLC officers. Despite this assumption, however, he also knew that he might encounter resistance because of the touchy subject and the sometimes secretive nature of the college.
The Review has always had a difficult time collecting sensitive material, which is not helped by the fact that Linfield is a private institution. This means that, other than certain federal requirements, the college isn’t obligated to release any information that may be considered detrimental to its image.
As it turned out, the ASLC didn’t seem to appreciate the Review mentioning the possibility of indiscretion, which comes as no surprise.
However, both ASLC President Ashlee Carter and ASLC Vice President of Business and Finance Chris McIsaac were willing to speak to the reporter about the matter. This meeting revealed nothing, and the rumor was declared false.
That in itself is not the issue at hand; the Review does receive false tips from time to time.
ASLC Cabinet reactions to this questioning is another story.
In an e-mail response from McIsaac in the story’s beginning stages, he wrote: “I am sorry to let you know, but there was no money stolen by last year’s Cabinet. They used the money from their club funds and also from Activities Council. The only issue was a minor one in which they were supposed to have a chaperone on the event since it was overnight. I am the only one (other than those cabinet members) to know this to be true, so the rumors you are hearing are false. I have complete control over the money that flows in and out of the student body and can verify that this did not happen.”
Again, there was no problem with what he said; that’s why the Review investigates leads before it prints stories that are untrue.
What followed in the e-mail, though, was a different matter: “I highly suggest you do not blow this out of proportion. It occurred last year and there is no reason to create new issues over a previous relationship between ASLC Cabinet and The Linfield Review. This year’s ASLC Cabinet wants to promote healthy relationships between all of its organizations, especially within the media services.”
ASLC Vice President Chris Norman even spoke with the reporter personally, asking him to reconsider writing the story in defense of the suspected Cabinet member’s future career aspirations.
Is it too much of a stretch to think that, if this incident had actually occurred, students would want to know about it, especially because it would involve their money?
While some may disagree, we at the Review aren’t ones to intentionally blow things out of proportion, even if the paper and ASLC haven’t always had the most cordial relationship in the past.
We are here to report on goings-on at Linfield, and this supposed event could have been real news. It’s not our prerogative to drop stories just because reporting them might cast a negative light on ASLC or the college.
We are not a public relations service; newspapers are known as “The Fourth Estate” for a reason. And, while we can’t always discover the answers regarding those hard news stories, it doesn’t mean we won’t try.
It’s funny how we are always asked to cover the small events, but shame on us if we report on a possible case of embezzlement.
If that’s not a double standard, we don’t know what is.

-The Review Editorial Board

Be careful what you search for

Braden Smith. The Internet is big. And it keeps getting bigger. Our society, specifically our generation, is becoming increasingly reliant on this innovative technology. But what are the implications of this progress? Is it possible that we could be losing something when we use the Internet? These are questions I think we all need to ask and ask now.
I am a big fan of the old sci-fi dystopian novels. One of my favorites is the classic “1984,” by George Orwell. Naturally, I tend to worry about the future of our society.
A big concern of Orwell’s in “1984” is surveillance. The Internet is a form of communication in which everyone is connected to everyone else. This makes it much harder to keep your online activities and information private.
I think people don’t realize that Google profits by collecting their information. The little search box under the colorful logo is like a mouth that devours every single letter you put into it.
Google knows what you are searching for; that is how it knows which ads to throw at you. This might not bother you, though; you always ignore ads anyway, right?
As much as I hate being targeted, ads don’t bother me too much, either. What do bother me, however, are the possibilities.
The National Security Agency is a government organization that is rapidly expanding. With NSA’s growing technological capabilities, it is becoming easier for its analysts to not only collect data, but sort through all of it, as well.
With the help of the Patriot Act, the NSA made deals with phone companies, allowing it to monitor and record the calls of American citizens to aid in the hunt for terrorists. What if the NSA were to strike a similar deal with Google?
In July 2005, the FBI sent letters to a few librarians demanding to see information that patrons had accessed from the library in the past. Librarians resisted this intrusion of privacy, but would Google Books do the same?
Once Google Books goes into full swing, Google will know every book you look at online. It will know every particular page you read.
While the government may not have access to this data yet, the Patriot Act and NSA demonstrate that it is possible for the government to get hold of this information.
Now, I am not saying this is going to happen. I am only pointing out that it is a possibility, and, because it is, we should keep a closer eye on what our government is doing as well as growing Internet giants such as Google. Privacy is important, and your rights won’t protect themselves.

Closing the Observatory: a step too far

Chelsea Langevin. Something has been bothering me on my walks to the library. And no, it isn’t the fact that I’m on my way to the library.
It’s that I know when I get there, I no longer have my study savior: the Observatory.
Yes, I’m a senior and depended on the Observatory for my snacking necessities, but it’s sad to think you can no longer grab a hot chocolate and a granola bar before a long night hitting the books.
I know, I know. The Catty Shack is practically next door and Jazzman’s Coffee Cart is inside the library, but that isn’t the point. The point is something deeper: convenience.
How perfect was it to be able to check your mail and grab a beverage on your way to class? Or leave the library for a short break to pick up coffee and cookies from the “Obs”?
I’ve seen the Catty Shack since it has merged with the Observatory, and the only change seems to be the constant line inside. It could be argued that the Catty Shack has gained popularity with its increased hours, but problems have arisen because of a severe lack of space and staff.
If we are going to agree to replace something as vital as the Observatory, we need to compensate for this change. In other words, we can’t just combine one important food service on campus with another and expect it to automatically run smoothly.
Some would ask: “Where else could the Observatory have gone?” And the answer would be: “I don’t know.”
What I do know is that we have an obscene number of freshmen this year on the meal plan with Wildcat Cash to spend and fewer places to go. This means more money will roll over at the end of the year that students won’t get back.
Honestly, we’re college students. We’re lazy. The Observatory was virtually a hop, skip and a jump away from both the library and Withnell Commons. We need its convenience, especially for students who don’t have any other form of transportation to get to the store.
While it’s still there in some recognizable form, the Observatory has lost some of its value for students. It’s not the quick stop-and-go it used to be and certainly is not conveniently located.

‘Newspaper is my vice; what’s yours?’

Dominic Baez. As sad as it is, I’ve been addicted to “Smallville” lately. I’ve been rushing through all eight seasons in preparation for the season nine premiere, which airs Sept. 25. But that’s not the point of this opinion.
Watching Clark Kent, Chloe Sullivan and Lois Lane save the world using not only superpowers but journalistic prowess has reignited my love of newspaper. As weird as that may sound, it’s true.
So, as I’ve been throwing myself into all things print. I’ve been hitting stories harder, creating layout designs faster and working with new writers longer. This ridiculous TV show has, in a sense, re-energized me and my love for all the aspects of the Review, whether it’s writing, the layout design, the reporting or the long hours. And the hours are long, trust me.
What I am getting at is this: I think I found that one thing, that one interest that makes me tick.
I never wanted to do anything with journalism when I was younger. To be honest, I was sucked into writing for my high school paper because my best friend told me I should. (She was an editor at the time.)
When I came to Linfield, I planned to major in international business and Japanese. As it turns out, I’m horrible at Japanese, and I was somehow coerced into writing for the Review. It’s funny how life turns out sometimes. Now I’m a double major in mass communication and business and editor in chief of this paper. It’s not what I had in mind, but I’m glad it happened.
So, now I have a message for those of you still trying to find your place, your niche, here on campus: Get involved, journey outside your comfort zone and get busy.
Those of you who have read my past opinions have probably heard this message already, but it kills me when other students do nothing but go to class and go home. Don’t get me wrong; I know classes come first, but how can you pay $40,000 a year just to attend class?
Join a club, participate in Greek Life, play a sport; just do something. I was not interested in Greek Life when I was a freshman, but I gave it a shot, and I love it. I wouldn’t change that decision for the world. And, while being Greek isn’t for everyone, there is something out there for you.
Just as I found that I’m a newspaper dork who loves to correct grammar mistakes and argue over sentence structure and diction, you will discover who you are, too. You just need to get off the couch and do something.
Newspaper is my vice; what’s yours?

Sixty minutes + 30 skits = one big hit

Karen Cole. Sixty minutes to go: 30 numbers are pinned to a clothesline, waiting to be pulled and performed in “Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind.”
On the stage, which is littered with a myriad of objects, lay paintings of Bulbasaur, Mach five insignia and less-than-chaste statements. This place isn’t for children, that’s for sure.
“Time is of the essence” is a common phrase throughout the show.
The theatre department’s season opener is pure fun from the opening of house to the end, when they are kicking you out to the song “I’m on a boat” after the 30 skits have been performed. The song itself was made famous in a Saturday Night Live skit almost as famous as “Jizz in my Pants,” which might have been slightly more appropriate.
If you want to laugh your butt off the entire time, go for scenes 14, 19, 16, 24, 30 and 27. If you want a heavy note, choose scene nine.
“The actors are incredibly enthusiastic,” sophomore Burt Murrell said. “I’ve never seen a show before.”
Thirty minutes to go, and 16 numbers remain.
The actors switch from one set to another almost seamlessly. The changes are basic, but rapid. The scatterbrained nature of the show leaves plenty of room for error — running into each other — and keeps the show entertaining.
Sophomore Colton Anderson said the show was random.
Fifteen minutes are left. Seven scenes remain, and the audience is itching to see them all, but the more it gets pelted with water, the more it wants to hear the buzzer.
The spotlights have been working, but they seem to be a touch off center for a majority of the play.
Music, the background that sets the mood, has been perfectly placed, easing into the next audio file or flipping on at just the right cue.
One minute left — there is one sign remaining, the clock is running down and the scene being performed doesn’t seem like it’s wrapping up. The question to all those watching the clock: Can they do it?
Forty seconds left and sign 28 is pulled. There isn’t much to set up, and the actors set into their different spots faster than their legs should be able to take them. By talking a mile a minute, the timer gets closer, closer and then, at exactly one hour, everything is over.