April 5, 2010

Coverage To All, and To All a Good Night

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When my editor reminded me this morning –– in the middle of an Intro to DSOC lecture I was paying rapt attention to, mind you –– that I was supposed to be writing a column for tomorrow, my first reaction incorporated an audible groan, dramatic eye roll and smack directed at the seat of the chair next to me. And the chair next to me really wasn’t as soft as its outwardly cushy appearance implied, might I add. It’s not that I don’t really enjoy writing these semi-weekly buckets of enlightenment; it’s just that on this particular night, I have about three thousand other things I also need to do. Like my thesis, which I am told is due in a week. Uh-oh.But then I remembered the immortal words of someone similarly in the business of dispensing pears of wisdom. By this of course I am referring to my good friend and fellow changed woman, Britney Spears. And if you know me at all, you know there are few things in this world I enjoy more than inserting some quality lyrics into my columns. In her song “Break the Ice,” also sometimes referred to as “It’s Been a While,” Britney whisper-sings seductively: “It’s been a while. I know I shouldn’t have kept you waiting. But I’m here now.” Touché, Ms. Spears, touché.I would like to take a second here to heap a little praise on the talented sports editors of the 128th Editorial Board. If you indeed read the Sports section as religiously as I believe you do, you will doubtlessly have already noticed how good the back page looks on a consistent basis. As someone no longer part of the designing process, I feel it is not too much of a conflict of interest to say the new generation of editors has a lot to be proud of already.And yet, despite this, you might be surprised at the amount of rather angry mail the sports department, specifically its editors, receives on a daily basis. (I am sure I speak for everyone on the Sun when I add here that we welcome and encourage all comments, no matter how irate.) But a large portion of the angry letters that find their way to the Sports inboxes has to do with coverage –– or a perceived lack thereof –– of Cornell athletics. In any given month, there will be complaints from several different teams, and fans of said teams, that they are either not getting enough coverage, that this coverage in inadequate, or that this coverage does not come out quick enough.Here’s the thing.There are a lot of varsity athletic squads here at our lovely Cornell –– 34 of them to be exact, to say nothing of the numerous junior varsity, club and intramural teams. We at the Sun have made a commitment to serve the Cornell community, and as such, have made it our policy to cover every single one of those 34 varsity teams. This is a commitment we have continued to uphold come budget cuts, staffing shortages and a drastic decrease in the number of pages allotted to our section each day. This is a tremendous credit to the hard work and perseverance of not simply the editors, but the entire Sports staff.So yes, while we would absolutely love to be able to cover every single athletic completion of merit that occurs in affiliation with this University, it simple cannot be done.This year, to the immense credit of our male and female student athletes, not to mention the tremendous good fortune of our Athletic Department, Cornell’s public relations machine and our boosters network, the Red have been blessed with an impressive array of championship-caliber teams. I think it goes without saying that having great teams to cover also makes the lives reporters here in the section a lot sunnier, if not easier. I’d say easier, except that playoffs mean away games. Away games mean long and potentially expensive road trips that might be –– but probably won’t be –– reimbursed. I know, I know; we in the sports section all lead tremendously difficult lives.Every single team that wins an Ivy title, or earns All-American honors, or moves on to the NCAAs deserves the prestige and attention that comes from being featured on the back page. On the other hand, at this time, the Sun only has one back page. A day. Ever. So you can imagine how difficult it is to give multiple sports teams the credit that is their due without inventing some bizarre multi-back page flap system. Believe me, when we do have the ability to implement such a thing, you all will be the first to know.Inevitably, either the teams take turns like good kindergarteners, or their stories run immediately and simultaneously, and someone gets bumped from the back. In order to attempt to prevent this, the section has begun staggering content, in order to allow everyone a happy, back page day in the sun. (Ah ha! Pun!)This might be an imperfect system, but it is the best system we can implement with the resources available. So please, be patient. If you don’t see your cousin’s happy face hoisting that title trophy the day after it happens, don’t assume he’s been forgotten. His day is coming. And if you still don’t feel like we’ve given him enough credit, I give you my permission to write us an exceedingly irritated letter.

Original Author: Meredith Bennett-Smith