A college newspaper’s “Republicans turned off by the size of Obama’s package” has gone viral — again! The headline and column were published in the Eastern Michigan University paper in January 2009 and “have certainly made the rounds over the years with recurring bouts of notoriety on broadcast and social media,” says Kevin Devine, the paper’s adviser. “It reminds me how much some news organizations rely on aggregating news rather than reporting original content, but I digress.” The Eastern Echo’s slogan is “news and nonsense spiced with nerve,” but the paper is no threat to The Onion. Advisor Devine tells me in an email:
The paper’s headlines (and articles) are occasionally playful, particularly in the Life (features) section, but to be honest, the students tend to report fairly directly in the News and Sports sections — no cutesy stuff. Opinions tends to be a bit dry. This particular headline was not typical for that section.
That said, like all print publications, we’re competing against all the pretty pictures, flashy graphics and tidy little chunks of text online, so I encourage the students to remember this is a college paper, not a church newsletter. Jazz it up a bit and what not. The corollary is that sexy and smutty are two different things. Bottom line, make it fun, useful, engaging and worth the readers’ time./continues
Anyway, regarding the Obama headline specifically, yes, there is on-going reaction both pro and con, but the columnist who wrote the piece and the editors who assigned, proofed, approved and headlined it have all graduated and moved on. It’s a whole new crew in college newsrooms every 12-18 months. Other than our current editor in chief and our comics/puzzles editor, no one else on the staff ever met that vintage of editors let alone worked with them. So in that way, each year’s volume of the paper (Sept. through June) reflects the zeitgeist of that year’s edit board, and it can vary more than a little from year to year.
Here’s a link from a year ago from then-EIC Danny Hopkins’ blog.