The 432 isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on

This is where I get mad. The 432, the Science Undergraduate Society’s official newspaper, is … euuugghh. The very idea that students are funding such a worthless, offensive, and generally craptastic rag is insane. This newspaper, apparently, used to be good. It used to be smart and hilarious, and enjoy more readership than the Ubyssey. Not that that’s exactly anything to be too proud of. For as long as I’ve read it though (about two years), the 432 has been an emblem of stupidity and needless tree-chopping – and this week it just about scraped bottom. Apart from the annoyance of its entering VFM without doing a shred of elections coverage, lets do an enumeration of this week’s journalistic offerings: Article about giving you dog a bath (…), Article about the city’s sex shops (whaa?), and to top things off with a flourish of offensive bad taste, an article about Sarah Naiman’s breasts (classy). This is not harmless fun – it’s offensive, student-fee-funded, useless crap. Though not everyone agrees, of course: according to the outgoing Director of Administration of SUS and AMS VP Academic elect Alex Lougheed, this issue represents an improvement in quality. “It’s pretty good this week, actually,” he said to me, without any redeeming hint of irony.

How about this radical thought: if you don’t have anything to write, don’t write anything at all? I even left out the “nice” from the kindergarten adage about keeping your mouth shut. There’s a balance between informative satire (think Colbert, or The Devil’s Advocate, for that matter) and pure farce. Most undergrad newspapers, including the Underground (which, to it’s credit, actually contains at least a couple laughs every other issue) seem to be publicly funded mediums for a few amateur comedians to fill space. Yuck.

It seems to be notoriously hard to get people to actually write for these things. The poor editors typically publish whatever they can get their hands on from a few nominally funny SUS councilors the night before press time. But how is this possible?? There are heaps of science students that must have something to say. Maybe a combined undergraduate newspaper from all the faculties would be more interesting and prone to publishing actual content? Maybe a hired position for editor and a committed volunteer staff appointed for a whole year would produce better results?

Anyway, just a few thoughts. It seems like I’ve been doing a ton of “media” stories lately, and I promise this is the last for a while. Scintillating topical posts about the Vancouver Quadra federal by-election, AMS elections 2.0 (including student court challenges), and other cool stuff are on the way. And it’s Science Week! Check out some of the events.


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