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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A Controversy of Sort
A column by a Daily Beacon sports columnist about the UT men's run to to the Sweet 16 has raised the eyebrows of one of my favorite UT blogs Rocky Top Talk.

The column, written by UT Daily Beacon student Nash Armstrong, contains a lot of errors according to the research done by RTT.

As I read the article, I was reminded of my own time working on the Daily Beacon, many, many moons ago when I was a student at UT. In those days, writing for the Beacon was meant to be a kind of proving ground, a place to hone your skills and get some real world experience before you graduated from the school of journalism. (That and a perpetual humbling experience when you knew that no matter how great an article you wrote or edited that it was only read after most of the campus population flipped open to the Crime Log (which for the record includes some of the most unintentionally hilarious moments in print journalism)).

I will admit that the column could use a couple of passes by a good editor and it could use some tightening. I read it a couple of times and I can't really figure out what the central argument is other than "Scotty Hopson sucks." It feels a lot like a column or article written coming out of Spring Break when maybe Armstrong and the editorial staff of the Beacon wouldn't have had as much time to put the polishing touches on it that it deserves or give it another edit or two to hone it down a bit.

I love the line about how he doesn't want to "belittle Scotty Hopson" when that's precisely what he's done for the past several paragraphs. It reminds of that saying about how you always preface a criticism with "I don't mean to criticize, but..."

The column does made the error of not really researching its points well or coming up with concrete facts to back up the assertions made. RTT is able to do so and I hope that Armstrong will learn from the experience and that this may make him a better writer in the long run. The bad part is that in my day if a student journalist wrote and published a story that was refuted or as unpolished as this one, it only existed in the print world and would probably be forgotten by the student population as a whole within a few weeks after some debate in the letters to the editor section. Now in the day and age of the Internet and Google, the story will lurk out there forever and ever thank to the digital footprint.

Labels: ,



posted by Michael Hickerson at 3/23/2010 01:30:00 PM | |
Comments:
Thanks for the link and kind words, Michael. Just one point of clarification: the article giving Armstrong the business was submitted by an RTT community member and not one of the front page guys. I do take responsibility for bumping it from the community section to the front page (It looked to me like Armstrong was out to generate controversy, so I figured we'd play along), but reader bobo_the_vol is the author of the post.
 
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