May 1, 2006

Bob Sipchen: Superjournalist

Hatched by Dafydd

Patterico just directed me to a thought-provoking column by Los Angeles Times editor Bob Sipchen. Well, not "me" in particular; he didn't send me e-mail (he doesn't link, he doesn't write....) He had this post here, which directed me (I'm easily directed, especially when trolling for topics).

Sipchen reads like a guy who has his head screwed on straight, which was quite a surprise, considering who he works for... as a editor, no less. The column was about these May Day rallies, and his main suggestion was for "true student rebels" not to walk out of class, but rather to stay in class and demand better education:

Still, here's how the cynic in me is tempted to interpret that letter my wife unearthed: "We still don't care much whether your children learn biology and algebra or stomp around in circles shouting, so long as they keep their keisters on campus so we can collect that state dough."

Most educators don't have that attitude. Some do. That's why today's real rebels will be the ones who stay in class and politely but firmly tell their principals to give them better teachers, their teachers to give them more work, their parents to push them harder to complete it and privileged and presumably college-bound kids like my son to brace for some serious new competition.

Read the whole thing; it's short but well worth your time.

I couldn't find an e-mail address for Sipchen, so I'll write him an open letter here:

Dear Mr. Sipchen;

LA Times nemesis "Patterico" (Pat Frey) published a very positive post about you on his blog, Patterico's Pontifications.

From your column today, you seem like a journalist who sees his job as reporting the news -- not saving the world.

Is there any way you can, like, take over the whole paper?


Dafydd ab Hugh

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 1, 2006, at the time of 4:50 PM

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The following hissed in response by: Patterico

Bob has the standard LAT e-mail:

Write him. Or: I'll be seeing him on Friday. I'll pass along your regards.

The above hissed in response by: Patterico [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2006 10:24 PM

The following hissed in response by: AcademicElephant

Dafydd--I think you're spot on with your assessment of the spinelessness of academic administrations--from where I sit, this is a very logical offshoot of the emasculization of higher education as is witnessed by the Summers Affair and articles such as this:

Take a stand, voice an opinion, demand responsibility and you're a pariah--but what sort of example does that set? Sipchen makes excellent points and I look forward to reading more of his columns.

The above hissed in response by: AcademicElephant [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 2, 2006 5:12 AM

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