How This Blog’s Gonna Run

It seems clear to me that if you’re going to do any kind of journalism, you’d better like what you do — you can’t assume anyone else will. One reader has in comments already criticized the blog thusly:

“You might consider doing your research (“I’ll look into…”) and forming your opinions (“Sounds like…”) BEFORE you write your piece! And hopefully in the correct order, at that.”

Another reader — Treasure Coast Campus Governor Lauren Egan — has e-mailed me her disappointment that I’ve “convenient[ly] quote[d] to make someone look like they are being wronged.” She argues that I did not place the situation in context, and that, “As it stands, the article could possibly lead a student to believe that the TC House is trying to kick out elected representatives just to make waves or to be ambitious.” She concludes by offering an open conversation with me about it, which I respect and appreciate.

As I’ve said, I’ll follow up on that post. I’m sorry I haven’t done so quicker — for the record, I’m a grad student and I teach and have other responsibilities on top of taking my own classes. It’s also, as I’m sure you can all appreciate, end-of-semester crunch time. But, anyway, I’ve already gotten the opinion of another Speaker about it, and I’ll be talking to the appropriate TC leaders too.

What I’m not sorry for is the way I presented the information, which both comments suggest is incomplete. I think these comments show a need for me to say something about how this blog will work, what kind of “pieces” and “articles” I’ll be presenting here, and for me to give some examples of blogs covering politics in different ways.

Some treat the blogging medium as a place for news stories, not much different from printed news except for hyperlinks, as The New York Times does. Multiple authors, news as it happens. That’s one way, and not surprising for an established, old-fashioned daily newspaper.

Others operate as opinion columns, as Glenn Greenwald’s does over at Salon. Single author, focused daily commentary.

There are also blog-places for links and snippets that sometimes coalesce into bigger stories, but sometimes don’t, which is how Ben Smithover at Politico does things. Single author, news briefs rather than “stories.”

Still other blogs function as an amalgam of those types, with posts varying from links and one-liners to lengthy commentaries and dialogues between blogger and commenters. Here I’m thinking of a blog like Andrew Sullivan’s at The Atlantic magazine. Single author on wide-ranging events and issues, not always even “on-topic.”

There’s things I like about each of these — and I recommend them all — but the point is there’s no one way to blog about politics, and in a sense blogs are always works in progress. That’s even more true for new blogs like this one, where walking in with preconceptions can be upsetting all around.

So here’s a brief list of what I want this blog to be and not be.

It should and will:

  • Share news, political events, and conversations of interest
  • Encourage public conversation about Student Government
  • Be accessible, fair, and concise where possible
  • Take legit criticisms and address them
  • Offer something new at least as often as the printed UP, i.e. weekly or better
  • Presume its readers capable of shaping their own opinions, taking my word only for what it’s worth
  • It should not and won’t:

  • Be a place only for lengthy, “finished,” “stories” or “articles” (that’s what print is for)
  • Serve as a soapbox for me, SG leaders, or anyone else
  • Read like a mock-scandal tabloid or a PR-ish newsletter
  • Be updated with the frequency of the other blogs I’ve pointed to–this isn’t a full-time or even part-time job
  • Lay down the “gospel truth” of any matter
  • Fair enough, right? Just keep in mind I will make, admit, and correct mistakes. I’m not out to malign or misrepresent anything. Civil, constructive conversations–in person, by phone, through e-mail–are always welcome and, I think, are beneficial to the community. Governor Egan’s set a great example in that regard already.

    Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll continue to do so. And good luck with finals.

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    4 Responses to “How This Blog’s Gonna Run”

    1. Great blog this week! Very well written.

      My only criticism is that it doesn’t have any appeal to a mass audience. It seems as if you are writing only for a few select people.

      Also, you kind of gave the impression that you would not be “following up” on any of your blog-articles. This I feel would be a mistake. At least consider adding updates so that the students that are interested and that do care about what you are writing about can have a sense of resolution.

      Good Luck,

      Dan

      PS
      What class are you teaching?

    2. Lauren Egan Says:

      I appreciate such a well thought out response. I hope that you did not take any personal offense to my e-mail. I actually think this blog is an interesting idea, which is why I am keeping up with it!

      That said, I hold my job closely to my heart. I value the opportunity to represent the students of Treasure Coast. That said, when I see something that looks unfair to one of them, it is only in my nature to step in. Since you make it very clear that your intentions are to post unfinished stories, I hope you are aware that I am probably not the first person that is going to come to you like this, and that many people probably would not have done it as gracefully.

      It doesn’t really matter how many articles you write explaining how the blog will work. If something is written that will cause someone to be viewed in a bad light based on the fact that it isn’t all of the information, you’re going to get some backlash, regardless of your intentions in writing it or your intention to follow up. I’m not saying it isn’t worth doing, and I’m not saying anything is your fault, but be aware that we don’t exactly know you yet. We don’t know you as a blogger, so we don’t know if your “I’ll look into it” means that you actually will. Part of the conversation about SG that you want to stimulate is going to be people disagreeing with things you say or how you say them because of the way you have chosen to write the blog. Prove that you WILL follow up and get an entire story. Once you gain reader confidence, you probably won’t get as many criticizing replies.

      Again, thanks for the reply. I hope to hear from you at some point in the future. Good luck with exams and “crunch time”. 😉

    3. Lauren, you are such a politician! That was not a complement by the way.

      Why won’t anybody answer one simple question?

      Was there quorum for the meetings where Chris Torres was marked “absent”? (I am speaking about the treasure coast SG meeting discussed in this blog last month.)

      What criticizing replies? Try “criticizing reply” (singular). Whoever wrote the one critical reply (to this blog) did such a poor job articulating themselves that I wasn’t sure what their point was. In other words, it sounded as if they (the critic) was having a schizophrenic episode. Shut up! No, you shut up. It was quite ridiculously unintelligent.

      Another question I have is; Is the Rules and Policies Chairperson still in charge of enforcing SG absences?

      I was a Senator (what FAU used to call the SG Reps.) for one of the most corrupt and morally bankrupt SG sessions ever at FAU (the 40th Legislative Session). Dan Wilson (FAU SG President 2005) allowed Rockibur Jaorder (then SG Senator) and Joshua Bratt (then SG Speaker) to install Peter Torres as the Chief Justice of the SG Judicial branch. After Torres was imbedded, Bratt and Joarder felt as if they could do whatever they wanted. When approached with allegations of wrongdoing, they would state, “If you feel that something wrong was done, you must submit a case for judicial review.” They even made all kinds of goofy rules (you must submit three copies of all cases, and all three copies must be handwritten in blue ink).

      The problem was that SG leadership purposely did not hire associate justices, so that they could claim that there weren’t enough members of the court to hold quorum; Thereby essentially usurping the court’s power. Peter Torres was told (by Bratt and Joarder) not to hire associate justices so that they (Bratt, Tores, and Wilson) would be “safe” from being tossed out on their asses no matter what they did.

      So, naturally, when there are allegations that current SG leadership tried to kick out a member for absences, when at least one of those absences was not even an absence (because there was not quorum for the meeting to be official), AND THEN for that person to write, “If you have a problem with that then I suggest you submit a case to the court (sic)” you can understand when some people will hold their nose, point their fingers, and call out “bullshit!”.

      I’ve seen people (way more intelligent and conniving) get thrown out of SG. Either admit your mistakes or stick your head between your knees and kiss your ass out of SG.

      How do you think Tony Texiera and Abe Cohen won their Presidencies? They won because there were enough pissed off people (Gary Goldberg, Tony Texiera, Abe Cohen, Myself, etc.) that the amateur politicians were stripped of their power, toes, and will to live.

      Carmela… you are no Rockibur Joarder! You are no Francis Hallenstein! You are No Alvira Khan. You could not hold a candle to those flaming fascists. Don’t even try; It is a lesson in futility.

    4. More laughs! Says:

      And yet despite the fact that it seemed as if all wrongs were made right by the Teixeira presidency, somehow he still managed to appoint his frat brothers to administration committee seats that Brogan needed students on.

      Though it makes you wonder, what possesses someone like Joarder or any of those Blagojevich wannabes to take advantage of a position for the sake of leaving nothing positive accomplished except a tarnished record as one of the most corrupt political roleplayers in an SG’s history? In the end, what was all that power grabbing even for? Its not like SG has any sort of inherent power. The most good they could have done was use their useless titles creatively to earn some concessions for students, but instead spent all their time and energy finding ways to be the dirtiest rats in the sewer. The best part was when Joarder unceremoniously sold out Wilson in the school paper by saying “I’ve never seen a grown man cry like that”. Once Joarder bragged to me as a potential voter how the members of the Board of Trustees liked him best and thats why his “party” should win the elections.

      It is so sad, its downright funny. SG needs to reclassified as an intra-mural sport. There is no redeeming this organization because its not meant to mean anything to anyone other than its participants who take SG and themselves too seriously to see the truth of it.

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