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Author Topic: The "student press"
Hephaestion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4795

posted 27 February 2006 02:46 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A comment in another thread got me thinking about the student press (again). Awhile back, in an exchange of PMs, I discovered that 'lance is a former wretch (as in the proverbial ink-stained variety) from several student papers, including (if I recall correctly) The Varsity. And just today, I discovered that al-Q is an alumnus of The Sheaf. For myself, I cut my journalistic teeth at The Quill (second-oldest student paper in Western Canada behind UofA's Gateway.)

It gets me kind of nostalgic, thinking back on those days... not only the paper, but the people. One of my proudest moments was an expose we did on building contractors short-changing their workers and paying less than the provincially mandated minimum in order to "stay competitive" -- in short, "fixing the books" to make it look like they were paying their workers the full amount, but not really doing it. (The news editor and I -- I was the co-ordinating editor -- were buddies with some of the union members in the Maintenance Dept., who tipped us off that some of the carpenters working for a contractor that was building BU's new library were being screwed over.)

After MUCH talking with these carpenters (and much vouching for us by the Maintenance Dept. guys), we ended up doing a series of "name changed to protect the source" interviews with several of these carpenters. They were nervous about being "blackballed" by local contractors, but they were even *more* fed up with being ripped off, and they were also upset that nobody -- whether in government of the MSM -- seemed to be willing to listen to them and do anything (such as write) about the problem. Well, we did, and it started the snowball rolling.

We did a big two-page spread on the story, and then a couple of friends started raising questions about the practice, based on our story, first at the Board of Governors level, and then at City Council level (they were somewhat "high placed" friends. ) They were able to raise a big enough stink that The Winnipeg Free Press did a story about it -- after which the Brandon Sun was finally forced to do so as well, or look stupider than even usual. Of course, neither paper gave one whit of credit to The Quill. The upshot of the whole thing was that BU was indignantly claiming that they knew nothing about it all, and that they had just gone with the lowest bid, an honest-to-gawd investigation was launched by the province, and the first conviction (for underpaying workers) of a contractor in over 20 years in the province was handed out, with the contractor having to pay fines and back wages.

The Maintenance guys bought me and the news editor several beers for that one.

I could go on... the story we did on a sweatshop that Great Western Garments (anyone remember GWG jeans?) was running right in downtown Brandon... the multi-year war we waged against the regressive and undemocratic "student conduct guidelines"... the way faculty salaries were stagnant, while administrators' salaries kept soaring (we embarrassed the two vice-presidents into releasing the amounts of their salaries and benefits for the very first time ever)... allegations of anti-aboriginal racism by city police... attempts by the residence office to hush up sexual assaults in the dorms... mentally ill people left to wander the downtown because of government cutbacks... I got to interview Chretien, Campbell and Martin (I could have interviewed Muldoon, too, but I chose to join the protesters)... and of course, the ever-present, ongoing battles with our right-wing lunatics in student government...

Then there were the conferences... I went to a WRCUP (Western Regional Canadian University Press) conference hosted by The Carillon at UofR -- and met one of my very best long-time friends there for the first time (in the Lazy Owl pub, of course!). Omigawd... and that 36-hour final plenary session from HELL... and the awful *water* in Regina! *shudder* But The Quill ended up hosting a WRCUP conference a couple of years later, so I guess we musta had fun too, eh? And I learned so much from all of that, in many ways far more than I did from my classes...

Of course, there were also the "extra curricular" side of things... we smoked a lotta dope at The Quill in those days. A LOT of dope. (hee-hee) I tried "acid" for the first time. (And second, and third, and...) I learned that not all hip-hop is crap, and that indeed, some of it is socially-conscious and progressive (tip of the hat to "Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy"). I saw DOA for the first time, and Bob Marley's band, "The Wailers" (and then later had curried goat supper with Junior Marvin and the guys and got "fried" with them for dessert). I finally "came out"... I fell in love for the very first time -- like, real love, rather than just lust. I got my first boyfriend... ahhh, it was all so much fun....

Anyway, I've been meaning to start this thread for some number of weeks now, and never got around to it. Were any other babblers part of the student press? What are your memories, your triumphs, tragedies, and the like? Have any experiences that changed your life? Are any babblers currently in the student press? What's your opinion of it? Learning anything from it? Here's your chance to sound off...

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Diane Demorney
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6183

posted 27 February 2006 04:06 PM      Profile for Diane Demorney   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Memories. I was President & Vice President of WRCUP back in the '70s, as well as the managing editor of the Uniter (University of Winnipeg). I too, remember those long incredibly boring plenary sessions, at both the regional and national conferences. Unfortunately, I found I was spending way too much time on paper business and not enough on my schooling, so had to quit after a couple of years. But, it was fun while it lasted.
From: Calgary | Registered: Jun 2004  |  IP: Logged
Crippled_Newsie
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7024

posted 27 February 2006 06:17 PM      Profile for Crippled_Newsie     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was a photographer and a film critic for the student paper at the cow college I went to, and my boyf ran a 'literary supplement' that appeared in it several times a year.

In the fullness of our stay at school, there was a housecleaning of the literary tab by the Administration. They found it too edgey, too punkish, so they put a Suzy Sorority gal in charge. In response, many of us got together one night over alot of beers to write monumentally bad poetry to submit for the October issue. One of the ones selected went something like this (paraphrase):

quote:
Little ghosts and goblins float over the leaves
Wearing Jack o'Latern smiles
And in search of pretty candies
I sure hope they don't end up on milk cartons

Not only did that one get in, but about half of our stuff made the cut.


From: It's all about the thumpa thumpa. | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4795

posted 28 February 2006 06:30 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
oh gawd.... the bad poetry "slush pile"... usually with numerous overwrought, weepy/bitter pieces of dreck about how "I will always love him/her" or "He/she is such a piece of shit"...

*ugh*

And then they would indignantly demand to know why their "art" had not been published... don't remind me, please!

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 28 February 2006 07:46 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"The sky weeps / And I weep too ..."

That sort of thing, Heph?


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4795

posted 28 February 2006 08:10 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Was that YOU sending us all that stuff, skdadl?!?

But seriously... that kind of thing was some of the better submissions. Ye gawds and little fishes!

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 28 February 2006 08:25 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, yes. I went through a heavy Shelley/Keats phase when I was nineteen, twenty - "I fall upon the thorns of Life! / I bleed! ..." Well, hey! He got very famous for that.

Keats was actually better discipline for me. I still love Keats. "Then felt I like some watcher of the skies / When a new planet swims into his ken ..."

I got over Ken, though.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4795

posted 28 February 2006 08:42 AM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
LOL... you reminded me of the story of the young "cub reporter" who was sent out from Dafoe's Free Press to cover flooding in Saskatchewan, 'way back in the day... A day or so later, his initial report came back, beginning with the just-a-tad-overwrought lede:

"God wept as he looked down at the ruined wheatfields of Saskatchewan..."

Dafoe immediately sent out a cable to the young wordsmith:

"URGENT-STOP-FORGET-FLOOD-STOP-GET-INTERVIEW-WITH-GOD"

The Free Press guy who told me that one couldn't get through the story without bursting into giggles...

From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 28 February 2006 08:49 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Privateer
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3446

posted 28 February 2006 09:37 AM      Profile for Privateer     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, I have a lot of memories of exciting times in the early 90s. I was one of the four members of The Muse's editorial collective when we published that famous Safe Gay Sex article. We were getting calls from as far away as New Zealand, and as close as the local police station.

Not being a native Newfoundlander, and having grown in Vancouver, I didn't realize the local cultural impact this would have. I was shocked to be berated for undermining university fundraising. Normally progressive people, including myself, wondered if we'd gone too far. Thankfully, the campaign to shut-down the Muse fizzled and I was surprised that student politicians didn't leap at the opportunity close us down.

Looking at the internet today - keep in mind the story had no graphics just text - what we published wasn't extreme at all.

I have one regret though. I was there primarily to cover "meat and potatoes" student issues, which were forgotten about in the firestorm. Those were very regressive times as accessibility declined rapidly.


From: Haligonia | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3807

posted 28 February 2006 02:08 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I finally "came out"...

By coincidence, The Sheaf was involved in the outing of the Lieutenant Governor while I was there.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Raos
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 5702

posted 28 February 2006 09:45 PM      Profile for Raos     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I sadly, have no affiliation with the U of A's Gateway, other than reading it. I'd like to be involved, but I just don't have the time.
From: Sweet home Alaberta | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 28 February 2006 09:47 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
One of my regrets is that I never worked on Golden Words at Queen's. I loved reading that rag, and I'll bet it was a hoot to put together. The writing nights were open to anyone who wanted to go.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 490

posted 28 February 2006 10:22 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've never gotten that involved with the student press but I've written the occasional letter to the editor and once wrote a feature piece on string theory.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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