The Loser’s Point of View

Chaos in Print

The administration doesn’t listen to us! I’ll lower student fees! It’s time for a change!

Oh. Hello. You caught me writing my presidential campaign speech for next year. I know, I know. You’re thinking, “But…that sounds like the speeches that we just heard. How can it be next year’s?” That’s the one thing I’m finding really funny. I’ve been through university already and bore witness to four presidential campaigns. Now, it’s five years later and at a different school. I’m quite literally in a different time and place. And the speeches and promises were exactly the same.

The candidates are hardly to blame. I mean, we hear the same thing on much larger stages. “Ottawa doesn’t listen to us! I’ll lower taxes! It’s time for a change!” It’s not until this presidential campaign – the third one I’ve run in if you include my prior university time – that I finally clued in to what a joke it is, especially at this level. We were only campaigning for a week! That’s not enough time to get the issues out to you. It’s just enough time to make a lot of noise and promises.

Yeah, there were a lot of promises made in this election. After I saw the lists of promises in the Nugget, I knew my simple promise of hugs wasn’t going to cut it. But, I also decided not to run a negative campaign attacking the other candidates because, well, negative campaigns just don’t work. But the election’s over now. Now I can rip into the promises:

Markus Issacs – OK, you didn’t make any promises, but dude, you’re jokes just weren’t funny.

Jonathon Sonmore – Probably the most promises in a single speech. No offence, but it was rather sleep-inducing.

Dwayne Johnson – Ahh, Dwayne. The one promise that caught the attention of my classmates was more support for radio and television. Well, Dwayne, if you are such a supporter of radio, perhaps you’d like to tell these good people when my show’s on.

SFX: Crickets chirping (:01)

A bit of a controversy has sprung up over Dwayne’s campaign, too. NAITSA enforces their campaign rules pretty strictly, and the most cardinal rule is no campaigning on election day. Over at NR92, that rule was taken very seriously. I wasn’t even allowed near a microphone on that day. But, after I cast my vote, I grabbed the Nugget, and what did I see? Two large articles with the very large by-line “Dwayne Johnson.” True, they weren’t “vote for me” articles, but enough to give him a name advantage. So, the question is, how come the Nugget was more lax about the campaign rules than NR92? No big conspiracy, I’m sure it just boils down to management. NR92 is run by dedicated industry professionals who are training us to be dedicated industry professionals. And the Nugget is run by, well, Harmen Van Andel.

That’s just one thing that irked me about the election. I saw quite a few cases where NAITSA’s elections are prime for reform. So, with President Johnson and the new crew in charge, I hope they’ll take a look at some of my humble ideas for election reforms:

We need a forum – Sorry, but part of the fun of an election is open and spirited debate among the candidates. We had none of that! We had speeches in front of crowds that were thoroughly engrossed in their Blue Plate Specials. Set aside an evening for a candidate’s forum, where the people can come out, throw questions at the candidates, and the candidate’s can debate the answers. Give us a forum. Even at Augustana, which boasts 1/10th of NAIT’s student population, we did that.

No more candy – Another rule in place is we’re not allowed to give out flyers. It adds to the litter around campus. Fair enough. But instead, we’re encouraged to give out candy with little “vote for me” ribbons attached. Don’t tell me that the piles of candy wrappers, ribbons, and sucker sticks (and condom wrappers this time around) are any better. Besides, if the candy’s good enough, it could be construed as vote-buying. And what does this train people to do in the real world? “Oh, I hate the Tories. What’s this? An energy rebate? Yeah, I’ll re-elect the Tories!” While I appreciate the logic behind “no flyers,” there has to be a better substitute than candy.

And then, there was just the whole lack of media coverage during the whole campaign. Since the Nugget was only published at the start and end of the campaign, it’s not really a good choice. Nope, for daily coverage of the election, we had to turn to NR92. And…there was nothing. Heck, even with one of their own running, no one came out to a speech to see if there was anything newsworthy.

The media and government have always had a symbiotic relationship. The government needs the media to help get the word out, and the media relies on the government to do silly things that sell newspapers and get listeners. But that relationship seems nonexistent here at NAIT. Whenever I brought up the subject of NAITSA among my fellow future media professionals before the election, I was seen as the weird kid. Now that I do it after the election, I’m seen as whining about my loss. This is just one of the larger, more extreme cases of voter apathy. Even the media has lost interest. How many sex tests do we really need the Nugget to publish? Yeah, it’s nice that, on NR92, you’ve been told by Drew Dalby, but in the end, what has he told you? Nothing!

So, I guess it’s up to me. Next year, my third semester, that’s when we in radio get into news hardcore. That’s when I’m going to be an ace reporter. You may not believe me, but politics is fun stuff. It’s one of the greatest spectator sports going. I’m going to attend as many NAITSA meetings as I can. (I’m currently assuming that, like all democratic processes, it’s open to the public.) If I’m lucky, they’ll put a little chair for me in the corner labelled “press gallery.” I’ll sit in that chair, with my notepad, finding out what’s being done about the issues and seeing if the new council is holding up their end of the bargain. Afterwards, I’ll dig out my tape recorder and ask the follow-up questions. My instructors keep telling me they like to run things as close to the real world as possible, so I think I’ll hang around NAITSA and try my best to be a real world reporter.

Now, I’m not declaring war on NAITSA. That’s not my intent. I hope that the new council agrees that getting the word out about what’s going on at NAITSA should be a priority. And that’s all I want to do. I want to facilitate more open lines of communication. I want to do my part to tell the students what’s going on. And, as a new member of the media, I’m in a position to do so. Who knows? Once the people start learning a little more about what you do, you may feel more inclined to follow through on a few of those promises.

And, if you’ll excuse me, I’m sure you want to go take the latest sex test. So, I’ll just go back to writing the speech that post-secondary students all over the world will hear at every student election until the end of time.

The administration doesn’t listen to us! I’ll lower student fees! It’s time for a change!

And if you want to hear even more of my rants, be sure to tune in to Chaos in a Box, Wednesdays at 3:30 on NR92. (Yeah, Dwayne, I’m letting you slide on that one.)

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