Letters to the editor

Daily staffers work for rewards beyond grades

I am puzzled by a trend I was unaware of: that only five of the past 25 editors of The Daily have been women, as Asst. Dean Roger Boye pointed out in his Monday guest column.

I know that the year I was selected as editor in chief, 1984, two highly qualified women also applied. And the editor who preceded me was a woman, an apparent rarity in the recent history of The Daily.

Boye draws no hard conclusions, but I do find one flaw in his argument. It’s representative of a basic lack of understanding about The Daily by Medill that existed when I was there, and, unfortunately, seems to continue today.

If you want to raise questions about the dearth of women editors based on simple demographics, that’s fine. But don’t also try to base it on the number of women who have graduated with honors or who have won college journalism awards. I never won a damn thing in college and just barely graduated.

From the time I became off-campus editor at The Daily in my sophomore year, I was too busy trying to put out a newspaper. The same went for the other section editors at The Daily, from whose ranks the editor in chief usually rises.

People at The Daily are learning journalism hands-on, eight or more hours a day, five days a week, while trying to spend enough time in class to avoid flunking out. It’s often an exhausting experience. I hope more women get the opportunity to lead that effort.

But when they do, don’t expect them to be receiving journalism awards or graduation day plaudits. They will be tied up doing more important things.

Jim Puzzanghera

Washington bureau chief

San Jose Mercury News

Editor in chief of The Daily, 1984-85

Medill ’85

When it’s letters you seek, try bashing the Greeks

On behalf of the Northwestern slacker community, I would like to apologize to The Daily. You see, my fellow slackers and I have been too busy doing schoolwork, partying, or sitting at home with a bottle of tequila and a bad movie to write whiny letters to The Daily. As the ads we’ve seen every day in the Forum section attest, this is an unwelcome change. As such, I’m going to provide a few tips on how to get more letters written.

First, columnists should write about utterly uninteresting things that happen to have a few debatable details. Columns about anything interesting or important will require work to disagree with, and work is something the NU slacker spends most of his or her day trying to avoid.

Second, columnists need to take extremist and absurd views on relatively simple but politically controversial issues. It doesn’t matter whether they’re way out in left field or right.

Third, get someone to bash the Greek system. I assure you, within three weeks you will be publishing ads begging all the angry frat boys and elitist coffee-shop philosophers to stop writing in about why frats are the greatest and/or worst thing in the history of man.

If all that doesn’t work, just make up some letters. I’m not proposing you fabricate anything, but that a properly labeled parody of a NU group would keep things interesting. Northwestern Students for Sweatshops could write about how NU pays workers too much, or perhaps the College Victorians could write in about the lack of etiquette in the dining halls.

We’re lazy. We’re bored. We’re slackers. We’re NU. Any way you cut it, the only way to get letters will be to get us pissed off. Otherwise, the only letters you will receive will be jokes like mine, and you’d probably rather run another “please write us” ad than publish this garbage.

Laurence Berland

Weinberg sophomore