A Tempest in a Teapot But a Tempest No Less – Part 5

My reply was posted on Hunter L.

James Aronson was the consummate journalist who cared seriously about student journalists and their journalism (and he took some lumps because of that passion, that’s for sure, when he was faculty advisor for the Envoy).* He demonstrated genuine concern in contrast to those fronting the pretensions. He would be proud to know Kisha and Jacqueline Fernandez and Jonathan Mena, the WORD correspondents to the Demoratic National Convention, as well as many of their peers who slog through F/M’s trenches, negotiating its foibles to distinguish themselves and also opening the doors for others. That cannot be denied.

So, I don’t believe James Aronson would be upset about me raising issues in my email response [not on this listserv] to so-called “Journalism Faculty” about a student award in his name, an award that was suppose to be one of distinction but fell under one of the chimerical spells of D:F/M.






He was a patriarch of social justice journalism, and it’s bizarre that the undergraduate student journalism award in his name has nothing to do with that genre. Be that as it may, one of the more serious issues has been its selection process. So, anyone receiving bvazque’s email-fwd of my remarks [again not on this list], whether they appreciated them or not, need to understand the suspicions about a lack of objectivity and transparency.

What would be the problem in students knowing that the 200 bucks come way of the generosity of [fill in the blanks] and that the committee members are [fill in the blanks]. And, of course, telling them who James Aronson is [in a little bio] wouldn’t hurt. I think those suggestions for transparency could contribute to a strong foundation for authenticity. Maybe a logo could be added about the importance of student journalism as part of the learning process. Aronson obviously believed that.

Nevertheless, the student award may be as moribund as the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, but that doesn’t mean its standards should be less than what Aronson would have expected.

Regarding the ditty in bvazque’s email fwd, “Most Film and Media dept. faculty know that Gregg can raise issues in ways that are contentious”: Obviously, some colleagues are still smarting over the grade tampering and grade appeal fiascos and the other ignominies that can no longer be hidden, might I had [sic – should have been add not had], no longer should be hidden. So, I believe the following zombies would make better scapegoats [fill in the blanks].

And that’s what I wrote (and regret that I didn’t add at least one sentence about The Four Barnacles of the Apocalypse).

End Part V of VI


*Aronson was the faculty advisor for the Hunter Envoy, often described as the undergraduate student newspaper of the campus, when one of its editors published an attack piece on a student activist-type. I admit that the latter is not a good description of the student targeted for criticism but the reality is that said student sued the newspaper for libel and Aronson was named in the suit. It took many years for me to dredge up this information because it’s one of those skeletons in a closet and no one wants to admit hearing the bones rattling, probably due to shame and guilt and betrayal and other sinister reasons. Nevertheless: The College refused to represent him and Aronson was forced to cough up $$$ for his defense. He subsequently stopped advising the publication. Neither did the College support the Envoy, which was (and continues to be) an independent operation. When Peter Parisi and I were hired many years later, one of our assigned tasks was to reinvigorate the Envoy, which, when we were hired, was publishing once or twice a year.

In my second semester of my first year, I started requiring my students to submit articles to the Envoy. It subsequently started publishing regularly. That caught everyone’s attention. I often worked with student editors and some writers, even during the worst moments of that publications existence, and still do but I do it cautiously.

What occurred at that publication during the years that I’ve been at Hunter reflect on the dynamics of D:F/M as well as the personalities of D:F/M colleagues involved in the some of the sordid matters of the publication. But that story can’t be told in this journal.

But this tiny quip can: Reinvigorating that publication subsequently triggered the first whoops of the opening phase of The Mother of All Academic Wars.

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