The Overprotective Parent
I've always heard that any mother worth her salt would throw herself in front of a charging enraged bear to save her child from danger. I think that's undoubtedly true. The topic of protective mothers, in both the human and animal kingdoms, has been written about and photographed for centuries.
A search of Google images yields more than 3.7 photographs ranging from a new mother cradling the tiny feet of her newborn baby to a snarling lioness warning the photograph to step back from her cub. I've always known I would defend my children to the death, but I didn't really understand the depth of my protective nature until the first time one of my Pine Log "children" was criticized, unfairly of course, by a member of our campus community. In fact, that is exactly why I began this blog—to have my say in a forum where I can be biased and snarky to my heart's content.
Over the course of my 26 years in Student Publications, I have heard The Pine Log and its student journalists raked over the coals by other students, by faculty members, by administrators. The complaints include, but certainly have not been limited to:
• Misspelled words, especially in headlines (Who doesn't hate that?);
• "I was misquoted" or "My quote was taken out of context." More about my misquoted theory later;
• "The stupid newspaper didn't cover pick one (my fraternity's service project, my department's guest speaker, my daughter's dance recital, ad infinitum)";
• That was a ridiculous opinion in that article." (Or, maybe it was actually on the OPINIONS page and not an "article" at all).
I could go on, and on, but the truth of the matter is, there have been plenty of reasons to criticize The Pine Log over the years. And when I respond to these complaints with the old "but they're students" excuse, I feel more than a little guilty. Yep, they are students. But almost to a man (or women,) they are as committed to doing a great job and putting out a quality publication as any professional journalist I know. Do they make mistakes? You bet, but it is not usually because they simply aren't paying attention. And as painful those mistakes are for all of us, in the best of all possible worlds they will learn from them and be vigilant about not doing the same thing again. I have always said The Pine Log is a place where you can make mistakes but they don't have to be terminal. . . as long as you learn from them.
So what I want from the haters out there is to put yourself in our shoes. YOU assign an important story to an eager young reporter, then try to salvage the story when it's not up to par. YOU be in charge of making sure everything is spelled right twice a week, 11 weeks of each semester. YOU put your writing out there twice a week for 12,000 of your closest friends to shoot at. YOU commit to a campus newspaper for very little monetary gain while you are trying to pass all your classes and have a modicum of a social life. Then we'll talk. Meanwhile, I'll keep defending my children.