What we can learn about the First Amendment from that guy with the ‘you deserve rape’ sign

I’ve been musing for a while about a Daily Wildcat story on a student who held a sign that read “you deserve rape” on campus on the same day that the Take Back the Night rally was held to raise sexual assault awareness. As a journalist, I’ve been taught not to say how I feel about a story, especially one in a newspaper that I edit. But it would be a little ridiculous to pretend I don’t have a bias here. Of course I’m biased against a guy who says I deserve to be violated if I wear a short skirt. I would not argue with claims that his speech is hurtful. I do not believe Saxton should deliver a sermon that perpetuates victim blaming and slut shaming.

But I do believe in his right to do so without fear of retaliation through physical harm or legal means. Continue Reading

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You guys, I hate titles.

Who has two thumbs and is the fall 2012 editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat? This girl. Betting on me was probably safe, given that I was the only one running for the gig, but here we go anyway.

To say next semester will be interesting would be an understatement, given how much has to change. There’s a lot of worrying about keeping up with budget cuts and catching up with the way journalism has changed in the last few years. (You can download my Daily Wildcat editor-in-chief application as a pdf.)

I expect to meet a lot of resistance. It won’t be because I’m abrasive or too demanding, though maybe I should cut back on threatening to set people’s personal belongings on fire. It’s definitely not that I’m asking for anything too hard to accomplish, assuming we go at it with some patience and flexibility. It’s just really, really new.

And yet it’s not. Nothing I want to do is something entirely different from what people already do. People are already on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. People already know how to report, write, design, shoot, film, etc. I just want people to combine all of their skills, including the things they don’t think are skills (like tweeting or snapping a picture on Instagram), to produce a more well-rounded story for print and online.

Everyone has the potential to be a great storyteller. They just need to be pushed to approach and present the story a little differently.

And OK. Every editor-in-chief of the Wildcat has pitched these big abstract ideas, only to burn out and realize their lofty visions get tangled up in the day-to-day stresses of the paper. I don’t expect to streamline and transform the Wildcat in a semester or two, but here’s hoping that having a tangible game plan will help lay something of a foundation.

In other news, not long now until Dow Jones News Fund training in Texas and then I’m off to Los Angeles for my internship. And I’ve found a place to live, so I won’t even be homeless this summer. You win, week.