Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

I recently had a lively conversation with The Spectator’s Editor in Chief Courtney Kueppers. I was griping about an article I read and she vehemently defended the piece and the writer. I was shocked. Not only did she firmly, yet respectfully, correct my way of thinking about an opinion piece (even though they still used ironically incorrectly), but more importantly she stood to her guns.

Honestly, I didn’t think that gumption existed in The Spectator. I told her I admired her standing by her writers and said I would want to work for someone who did the same. However, since coming to UW-Eau Claire I’ve thought, and been proven, that The Spectator has fallen ill to the common and highly infectious disease of complacency.

Freshman year I stormed The Spectator office wide eyed and ready to take on the world. I, perhaps over ambitiously, applied for the sports editor position. I had just vacated the sports editor position from my high school. I had studied The Spectator’s sports section and had a vision how I could better it. I was rejected. I understood that you had to earn your stripes and had to prove yourself to the organization.

However, the person who filled the position knew hardly anything about sports. As I understood it, they were put there because they had worked there longer and nobody else wanted the job. It wasn’t even their first choice for a job. I was assigned to a volunteer writing position and prepared myself to do the nitty-gritty work to demonstrate my worth. I was first tasked to write a women’s hockey series story. I had done this many times before and hockey was my expertise.

I submitted my work and anxiously waited until for my first by-line as collegiate student journalist to be published. I flipped through the pages looking for my story. When I saw it, I was devastated. The Blugold’s first game was a 6-1 loss, despite outshooting their opponent 25-20. The next game was a tie. The headline read, “Women’s Hockey splits weekend against Bethel University,” which is wrong.

The sub-headline read, “Blugolds lose to Royals 6-1 on fist day; pick up a 25-20 win on day two.” I was floored. You don’t have to know much about hockey to know a 25-20 score is absolutely inconceivable. It seemed to me the “editors” didn’t even read what I wrote.

That is my personal Spectator story. However, it’s not my biggest criticism. What I want to know is why the fire I got out of The Spectator’s Editor in Chief in brief 5 minute conversation is so non-existent in the sports pages.

The sports pages are consistently filled with these lame game write ups, these fanboy team spirit pieces and bloated regurgitated crap that “editors” saw on ESPN the night before. This is not a knock on their writing or reporting ability whatsoever. I want to reiterate that again.

There are some talented writers and reporters that belong to The Spectator. However, this is a knock on what they’ve decided to cover. We have a god-awful football team where many of the players quit after a season. Do a story on that. We have a student culture that’s completely apathetic toward the sports culture here.

Do a story on that. How has the men’s hockey coach created a destination for top players in the nation whereas the women’s hockey coach has had two winning seasons in the past 8 seasons? Do a story on that. What is the goal of DIII athletics and do we hold our coaches to different standard then we would DI athletics? Do a story on that. Instead we get, “A team building trip,” or, “Softball getting back into the swing of things.” Barf. The Spectator offers young journalists an opportunity to practice and hone their craft. Which is great. But I wish we got more from our student paper.

I wish they understood the power they have and how they could exact change on campus and in the community. I hope the sports editor and other sports contributors take offense to this. Then I hope they do something about it. Prove me wrong. I hope some young journalism major might read this and think they can change the culture of the The Spectator. But, they’ll probably never see this because this is, after all, The Spectator.