Business professor feels Chart has lost its edge

Scott Cragin

 

I reserved making judgments regarding The Chart until several issues were published with new leadership in place. However, this semester’s issues confirm that The Chart has lost credibility as an independent news source. Although The Chart’s previous adviser, TR Hanrahan, garnered awards and peer recognition, as did the Chart reporters he advised, he was fired by the administration. It is apparent  that writing articles addressing the vagaries of the administration and making freedom of information requests will not be tolerated by the administration. The recommendation of the search committee for the new Chart adviser was ignored, and the administration’s candidate was hired. 

An April 29, 2011, Chart story regarding Hanrahan’s ouster states, “Hanrahan said he was told the University wanted to go in a different direction.”  That new direction is apparent. The very first issue under your new adviser contained a front-page “puff piece” on Dr. Speck’s reappointment and another on his new scholarship; the editorial was a big kumbaya about how we just need to get along (and a veiled jab at faculty: get over your “perceived deception”). The April 29 issue also states, “Dr. Jay Moorman, communications department head, said he couldn’t comment  on Hanrahan’s dismissal because it was a personnel matter. ‘The Chart has a long history of investigative journalism that will continue in the future,’ Moorman told the newspaper.” But wait, Moorman is gone now, too. I won’t hold my breath waiting for investigative journalism from The Chart, like a story on the lack of faculty involvement in determining the new distance learning initiatives. But I guess you’ll still be of value to bird-lovers. 

Interestingly, TR has taken a new position supporting student newspaper advisers who are threatened by retaliation and censorship. His first-hand experiences should provide valuable insight in this new role.  He is the coordinator of the Fired Adviser Comfort Team — “an online home for discussion about the occupational hazards facing those who advise student media” (http://www.splc.org/wordpress/?p=2751). Isn’t it truly sad that such a position is even necessary?

 

[Editor’s note: The Chart is a student run newspaper and has been since 1939. Nobody, including University administrators, directs Chart staff in what they should investigate or print.]