Turner: This has to be said

John Turner

Having served as the Editor in Chief of The Villanovan, I have always tried to take the high road when our publication came under criticism and not get into any petty arguments. But the way I figure it, there are only two issues of The Villanovan to go to print before I graduate, so just this once, I am going to go slumming it and step down to the level of the editors of the Villanova Times.

Okay, first thing’s first. The Villanova Times claim of being “Villanova’s only award winning newspaper” is simply not true. In The Villanovan’s 77-year history, we have had numerous members of our staff honored in regards to their work for the paper as well as accolades relating to the paper as a whole. If we were to list all of the awards we have won in our history, it would warrant the addition of another section.

Moving along, I want to clarify the fact that The Villanovan is in no way subject to the administration’s beck and call. The editors have final say over everything that goes to print and we can bash the administration’s policies and actions when and if we choose to, and we have. However, since our primary purpose is to inform the Villanova student body, we find it necessary to remain neutral when covering certain news stories, even if we do harbor our own opinions regarding these matters.

Next, I would like to address some of the things that Steve Bunn wrote in his column in the Villanova Times last week and its front page story about its papers being misplaced. First, the Villanova Times reported that its issues had been moved from metal racks in Dougherty Hall and replaced with copies of The Villanovan. Well, there is a very good reason for this. The Villanovan purchased all of the metal racks in Dougherty some time ago. Issues of the Villanova Times are being replaced on Friday because the racks are our property and we deem them fit to be used for the distribution of our publication, and our publication only. Despite what Tom Mogan might have told the Times’ staff, it is up to The Villanovan editorial board to decide what may or may not go in our distribution bins, so in the future the Times might want to check with us first. If it wants its own racks, then the publication should purchase them.

In his editorial, Steve Bunn claims that many people say “the Villanova Times is a better overall newspaper because of its investigative news, relevant opinions and superior sports sections.” Though I’ve never heard anyone say anything like this, I would like to address some of these points. Let’s start with sports. Pop quiz… Who put out a comprehensive football preview? Who has put out a 40-page basketball preview that included sneak previews of the men’s and women’s teams, Big Five previews, Big East previews and National previews? If you answered The Villanovan, you would be right. Who had a one-page sports section with articles on Villanova’s NIT loss (with zero quotes from any players or coaches) and Maryland’s victory in the NCAA over a week after the fact? As if I had to say, the answer is the Villanova Times. Hey, are the editors of the Times aware that there are more sports teams at Villanova than basketball? Did they know that as of this week, the softball team had a 32-8 record? I guess their superior coverage missed that one, huh?

Remarkably, the Times’ March 21 Sports section contained five articles with only two that pertained to the University. Do you mean to tell me that “Villanova’s award winning newspaper” does not care about or think Villanova sports other than basketball and football are relevant? Very sketchy.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the Villanova Times contained an article from Villanova.com last year about a lacrosse game. The by-line read “Staff Reporters.” I had no idea that Villanova Media Relations was a part of their staff. I’m not certain, but that seems like plagiarism to me. If you, at the Times, are having trouble remembering this, I am sure a check of your archives would more than sufficiently prove that I am telling the truth.

If The Times wants legitimacy and equal treatment, then they should try and focus on actual news. As important as articles about Chris Lilik resigning as Times editor in chief last year might be, issues of the Times getting stolen (April 11, 2002) and a company to benefit college sports fans (written by Mark D. Mead of Clemson’s Tiger Town Observer, Sept. 29) can hardly be called “investigative news.” While they were busy covering this “drivel,” we were covering important stories on Villanova’s campus, such as the recent on-campus car-jacking and hit-and-run, Bartley construction progress, job deferrals, community effects of Sept. 11 and the recent passing of members of the Villanova community. Try and keep your eye on the ball. A world of important and relevant news is passing you by.

I won’t argue that from time to time the Times has a relevant opinions article, but it mostly uses the space to complain about The Villanovan and how unfairly it has been treated. This is hardly relevant to most of the student body. The writers complain that The Villanovan has all of the advantages and all of the money. Guess what? We earned it. We have put out a quality product for 77 years and have a hard-earned reputation. The Times has been around for two years and expect to have all of the advantages it has taken us years to earn. Give me a break.

First off, if we depended on the money that the administration gives us to print the paper, we would put out about two issues per year. Our money comes from advertising revenue. Secondly, why does The Times care so much about us anyway?

Week in and week out (well not that often, the Times only comes out about once a month) they complain about The Villanovan and claim that they just want to be recognized and treated fairly as an official newspaper. If you want that so badly, then try acting with a small degree of professionalism. Stop writing about us and, for the love of God, stop writing about yourselves.

I have never seen a professional newspaper that quotes its own editor in chief, let alone with the frequency that you do. How often do you see the New York Times write articles about any of its editors or any awards they win? How often do you see them attack the New York Post?

I have no idea how or why the Times has created this imaginary rivalry with The Villanovan. The truth is that no one on the staff of The Villanovan could care less about what you guys do. We’ve been around for 77 years and will continue to be around for 77 more years.

I am sure that upon reading this column, Matt Lineberger or Steve Bunn will rush to their word processors in an attempt to respond. Hey, sounds like a typical front-page Times article to me. So go ahead, hit me with your best shot. Likely, no one will read it anyway and it will just further damage the credibility of your publication.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and let us know if you need a subscription to Villanova’s other award winning newspaper.