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WHO LOVES YA, BABY!: James Putnam, center, indicates who rules in the WAC. Click the Arts&Life index for a link to photos of a triumph deluxe in Reno. / Photo by Patrick Oden

Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, Amazon.com and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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An inside look at the rally on Capitol Hill

PROTECTING AN INVESTMENT: Jackson Olsen addresses the crowd from the Capitol steps. / Photo by Megan Wiseman

Editor's note: Jackson Olsen is student body vice president and government relations director at Utah State University.

By Jackson Olsen

February 2, 2009 | SALT LAKE CITY -- By the time 10:30 finally rolled around, I was still missing all of my five speakers. By this time I had already done four interviews with different media outlets and more than 400 students had gathered on the steps of the State Capitol. The masses were getting restless and my heart rate was quickening.

Thank God the weather was nice.

Finally, at 10:32 a.m., state Rep. Jack Draxler from North Logan arrived, and the show was under way. The sun beamed down on the south steps of the Capitol, as the students responded to the preachers at the pulpit:

"We know that higher education is one of the most valuable things we can invest in for this state, and that's why we're here today," I said to supporting cheers.

"You're doing the right thing, and you're doing it the right way," proclaimed Draxler.

"Students are the solution, not the problem. Your education is an investment, not a cost," added Snow College President and former state legislator Scott Wyatt.

We three were only half the show. We were joined by state Reps. Brian King, Christine Johnson, David Litvack and state Sen. John Valentine. All the remarks shared by the speakers focused on the long-term impacts the proposed budget cuts would have on the state.

What followed after the speeches could best be compared to the clogged security line at O'Hare International. The nearly 500 students made their way into the building, up three flights of stairs and into the viewing balconies of the House and Senate chambers, clogging the hallways as they went. The moving was slow, but the impact was undeniable. When both viewing balconies were full to capacity, hundreds of students remained in the halls unable to be seated. Even without the official recognitions that took place on the floors of both the House and Senate, every legislator knew we were there.

While I answered questions for The Standard-Examiner, I saw a number of students meeting with their legislators. State Rep. Sheryl Allen from Bountiful met with just a handful of students from her district while state Rep. Bradley Winn from Ephraim met with a busload of students who had driven up to represent Snow College. Many students told me before or after the event that this was their first experience talking to their legislator. I just hope it's not their last.

As the morning conceded into the afternoon, I knew our time was running out, and that our rally and lobbying efforts would soon be over for the day. This event had consumed my life for the majority of the last month, and I was glad to see it come to an end. And as I looked around at the crowded hallways and the students meeting with lawmakers and the media consuming the story like a feeding frenzy, I couldn't help but think that we made a difference. That's for time to tell, not me.

MS
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