The media’s purpose is effectively communicating world events. Luckily, for The Minaret, our world is much smaller, but the same basic principles apply.
Unfortunately, the only way for us to do this properly is if sources provide the right information to communicate.
Of course, as journalists and effective communicators, it is protocol to talk to more than one person to confirm the basic details of every story.
Last Tuesday, The Minaret ran into this problem.
However, it seemed to be a rather straightforward story that had too many holes.
The Minaret ran a story about alumnus-turned-former mayor-turned-ex con Alex Daoud who was scheduled to come to UT on Wednesday, April 15 to discuss his book ‘Sins of South Beach.’
A few days before he left for Tampa, an e-mail was sent to him basically canceling the event. The Tampa Tribune reported it, and The Minaret picked up on it.
The only resolution we had at press time is that someone lied. We weren’t sure who, but someone had to be fibbing.
Reporters sought comment from all parties involved, and every single one told a different story.
It’s like the bad comedy of a Friday afternoon conduct board hearing filled with conflicting witnesses.
The Tribune says they were told the provost and president asked professor Tom Garrett to cancel the presentation.
Garrett says he had a scheduling conflict and moved it to a later date and that Daoud likes to ‘stir the pot.’ Public Information cryptically said it was the wrong time’mdash;whatever that means. Daoud said he was being blackballed.
Eric C’aacute;rdenas, Director of Public Information, gave a statement that could be understood in so many different ways that no real meaning could be gleaned.
When The Minaret finally contacted Daoud, things began to unfold.
He provided us with an e-mail sent from Garrett to him wherein the professor explained that the Public Information office, via the president and provost, asked Daoud not come speak due to the embarrassment of the recently-indicted Rob Blagjoveich, who was hand-picked by Vaughn to be the 2008 spring commencement speaker.
The most disturbing part of the e-mail provided by Daoud is that Garrett expresses fear of the administration, as he is an untenured professor.
Tenure is a coveted position, and Garrett likely deserves it.
The Office of Public Information serves a simple, easily stated purpose’mdash;to inform the public of university affairs.
It is not to mislead the public or to spin administrative decisions into a lie.