Thursday, July 24, 2008

Welcome to Notre Dame! Join the Observer!

This morning, I thought I'd head over to and go to InsideND and check out my schedule, what with move-in day in a month.

And I'm greeted by this.

A front page video advertisement for the Observer, our venerable, daily student newspaper.

First, I highly respect the Observer for the ability to publish (close-to) every day of the school year. It is easier if 75% of your paper is generated from wire services and advertisements, but still a difficult task, as any Rover staffer who's considered grabbing breakfast while proofreading headlines at 6 in the morning can tell you. I read the Observer most days, am amused by the crossword and word jumble in class, gather information on our athletic program, and generally chuckle at (not with) Tae Andrews. Like many students, I bemoan the comics for the tendency to print generally unfunny material, but also acknowledge the difficulty of making a joke in three panel form everyday.

Second, I have no problem with our intrepid film department's video in itself, merely with its placement.

Why is a promo for the Observer the first thing that greets visitors to our website, especially as rising seniors begin the application process? Generally, I would say that the average student would place the Observer somewhere between studying for exams and Carl's Chicken on the memory scale of their experience at ND. I'm not seeking to imply that the Rover would beat out the two-headed radiation snowman for a story at the 25 year reunion, but we're not the ones with the video on page one.

The newspaper (both ours and the Observer, even the Scholastic) serves a community and although we, in the campus media, can alter discussion and influence decision makers (a little), the average student probably doesn't see us as an essential part of their Notre Dame experience. Obviously, it is a great activity, one that I enjoy, and like the students in the video, I have made great friendships and memories. But, the #1 spot on

Oh and I would put Carl's Chicken above the Observer. Especially, if SDH is serving Mac and Cheese with it.


Brandon said...

Let's go easy on Tae Andrews, he is a troubled soul. That being said, I don't know why the Observer needs so much face time. On the other hand the "Diversity" video is just straight offensive and warrantless. To me it said two things 1) minorities can only fit in by being members of cultural groups 2) we are so out of touch with minorities that we actually believe 1 and want you to know it. It is plainly ridiculous to have that video on there, it gives the wrong impression; and it pains me to say that because I am in that video and I know the students who made it. I want to support student production, but there must be better topics, or better ways to approach this topic.

Ben said...

I was hanging out with some fellow recent ND alums in DC this weekend and one of them said she wrote for the Observers Scene section. I casually mentioned that I had written for the Rover. After the her initial shrieks of disapproval--which I totally expected and found hilarious--we got down to talking and she admitted that most of my complaints about the observer were true--lack of content, excess of filler, liberal bias, poor management, etc. etc.

I never liked the video thing on the website...

Oh, and Kevin I'm glad you added that bit at the about Carl's chicken. Ranking it near the observer would be a great injustice.