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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, 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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Student lobbyists should make USU proud

By Shannon K. Johnson

Febrary 27, 2009 | Less than one year ago, the student lobbyists at Utah State were working to pass a tax-free textbook initiative. Now they are working for a much larger cause.

In a year of funding and budget cuts, our university is facing the possibility of dramatic layoffs and the potential elimination of entire programs.

But this year when the budget lines that run from the Utah Legislature to the university are threatened, the Aggies rallied on Capitol Hill in January and more than 4,936 students and staff signed our petition requesting that we not face dramatic funding cuts.

On Wednesday the Utah student lobbyists met outside of the University Inn and drive to Salt Lake for back-to-back meeting with the president of the Senate and speaker of the House. During that meeting the petitions were presented, but the lawmakers made no promises.

Unfortunately, funds are slim and plenty of valuable programs are threatened, so the legislators are stuck deciding whether they should raise taxes, take advantage of the rainy-day funds or just cut funds.

For those legislators, higher education programs appear to be easy programs to cut -- they reason that the university can raise tuition and cut jobs to cover the loss. If they cut higher education programs, many voters won't be upset because students are notoriously inactive in politics and usually don't vote.

The student lobbyists began meeting in September to decide how to best hedge the funding cuts, and the Aggies responded.

The student body has showed more activism against cuts to higher education than I have seen in all four of my years at USU.

The success of our efforts has yet to be seen; meetings are still being held and discussions continue over what percentage of our budget is going to be further cut.

But at least this year no one can say, "Students did not care," and no one can say, "Students aren't interested."

I hope our efforts are successful enough to encourage students to continue to be involved in the future.

But today I am proud of you, USU. Proud that you broke the norm of political inactivism and elected an eloquent defender of your interest.


Copyright 1997-2009 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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