To be fully educated, students should encounter not only Plato, but also Republicans.
The zinger of the night came from Ellen Kreth, borrowing from Nicholas Kristof.
Kreth, publisher of The Madison County Record in Huntsville, Arkansas and a board member of the Arkansas Press Association (as well as mom to a current Cavalier Daily staffer), was one of three distinguished speakers during the Rotunda dinner that kicked off the first annual Mid-Atlantic College Newspaper Conference, hosted by The Cavalier Daily and co-sponsored by the Cavalier Daily Alumni Association.
Focusing her notes on the unique friendship of Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Kreth encapsulated the evening’s theme: the need for a broad and open dialogue in order to ensure the preservation of free speech.
The evening’s other two speakers, current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and current U.Va. President Teresa Sullivan, each echoed the theme in their own way, calling on not less but more voices and opinions in the media.
The idea resonated on many levels: On one hand, it spoke to the contentiousness and dearth of compromise in today’s politics. For the student journalists participating in the conference—who represented 6 schools in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina — Virginia Tech, James Madison, Johns Hopkins, Towson, Duke, and the University of Virginia—it may have resonated on a personal level. With dinner table conversation touching on topics such as newsroom diversity, gentrification and who interned for the Clinton campaign, it was, perhaps, a clarion call to challenge themselves in their coverage.
Finally, with the events of last August still fresh in everyone’s mind, the words touched on the particular challenges that U.Va. and the Charlottesville community face in moving forward.
Like the Pavilion VII cornerstone that was commemorated on Oct. 6, kicking off the university’s bicentennial festivities, The Cavalier Daily stands in the midst of it all as a bastion of consistency that must constantly adapt to the changing world that surrounds it.
It was the weight of that burden that compelled the CD managing board and CDAA board to work together recently on reincorporating the CD with a majority alumni board of directors, providing an increased role for the expertise and institutional knowledge of seasoned professionals in managing the paper’s business affairs as it faces the often dire realities of the newspaper industry’s financial outlook.
The CDAA, in its effort to support the paper in every way possible, also feels the weight of the financial burden. Although I was initially hesitant to support funding this conference, I was brought around by two key factors: The first was the stellar job that Editor-in-Chief Mike Reingold, the managing board, conference committee and entire CD staff did in tending to the details that lent true cachet and legitimacy to the event. The venue and speaker list for the dinner were testaments to the fact that it was no minor undertaking on their part.
The second was the recognition, aided in part by CDAA President Matt Cameron and Treasurer Tyler Jenkins in voicing their support, that this was truly the type of event that reflected the mission of the CDAA—and the reason I myself became involved with it five years ago.
In that relatively short span of time, the CDAA’s mission has taken on many new forms—fundraising and outreach chief among them as our support for the CD becomes more essential than ever. The monthly financial updates can be a test of commitment for everyone (both staff and alums) volunteering their time and energy in service of the abstract goal of preserving student journalism at U.Va. (It’s a test I also face in my day job as a high school newspaper adviser after correcting the umpteenth AP Style error.)
Yet, the CD’s Mid-Atlantic College Newspaper Conference was a tangible reminder of how important our mission is.
I am tremendously proud of the CDAA decision to support the conference. As President Sullivan noted in recognizing the CDAA participation specifically, it symbolized that the value of the conference—as an opportunity for future industry leaders to network and discuss their common challenges—extended much further (or is it farther?) than the U.Va. Grounds.
I hope you will join me in continuing to support these causes by donating to the CDAA and continuing to help sustain the work of the CD’s student journalists, even as Rotunda dinners give way to salad days, ensuring that they have the same enriching experiences that helped shape our days in Newcomb.
Thanks for your support!
Ben Sellers, CDAA Vice President