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Rip it to shreds

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by NewSport, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. NewSport

    NewSport New Member

    Was hoping someone could rip this thing apart for me. It was too long to post here.

  2. I should be working, but what the hell...

    I've pasted it over in two parts. My comments are in bold. Areas of concern are in italics. General comments are in bolded italics.

    Robert Chernak, the senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services, has a job that oversees hundreds of University employees that range from athletics to admissions. Chernak answers to University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, but at least twice in the last year, he has answered to someone else: anonymous posters on a college basketball message board. The lead is WAY too long. How about this:

    Robert Chernak probably should know better. However, George Washington's senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services can't help himself. He just has to look.

    At the postings at GWHoops.com, that is.

    Twice this season, Chernak....

    When a Feb. 18 Los Angeles Times piece about GW's tuition was linked on GWHoops.com, a popular Colonials message board, Chernak - using the moniker "senior vp chernak" - said the article "ignored" GW's fixed tuition plan, characterized GW's tuition as "expensive" and wrote that feedback from families about the increase has been "positive." that's a looooong sentience. The next time you write something, try and limit yourself to no more than 20 words per sentence. It's an artificial rule, and one that you can break down the road, but it will help you write tighter. My last sentence was 19 words, BTW. You wouldn't have wanted to be much longer, would you? He posted on the site to correct "misinformation," This might be pedantic, but I'd like to see this more clearly attributed. something he did last year when The Washington Post and New York Times published stories that called into question the academic history of former GW basketball player Omar Williams.

    Chernak's audience on GWHoops, a Web site he said he only checks on occasion, having read the entire piece, I know that yo have indicated that you exchanged e-mail as part of this story. Did he write in an e-mail that he only checked the site on occasion, or did he tell you this? If it was by e-mail, you need to indicate that from the start. was anonymous. Many, if I had a dollar for every time Mr. Many was quoted! Hadley is telling you thins. That's enough. Mr. Many should be retired. including the board's proprietor Steve Hadley, suspect that posters - as they are called on the site Trust your audience to understand something so glaringly obvious. It isn't 1994. The world knows what a poster is--especially those reading a college newspaper include some University officials, current and former GW basketball players, athletic department donors and students. Actually, another, more interesting, angle on this story is how the flacks are using discussion boards and blogs to control the message. Ten years ago, fan discussion boards were pure. Now...not so much.

    The board, which gets anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 hits I'm not a geek, but I'm almost sure that hits is the wrong term. You are probably talking about unique visitors. per day, has covered nearly every aspect of life here in Foggy Bottom, but most of the scrutiny centers on the men's basketball team. Several thousand people per day look at the site to analyze every move of head men's basketball coach Karl Hobbs, his coaching staff and their 14 basketball players. redundancy, redundancy department More alarmingly, Says who? the board keeps tabs on a handful of high school basketball players that may be considering GW. The Web site, and hundreds of others at some schools with Division I athletics, awkward illustrates Say who? Show me how the influence of the Internet in college athletics. It gives a once-voiceless fan the vehicle to anonymously criticize and act as an expert on athletic administration.
  3. Chernak's habit of occasionally glancing at the board illustrates how important anonymous commentary has become here and at other universities. You are repeating yourself. I would have combined this thought with the above paragraph . Criticism from fans who largely would not have the vehicle to speak to administrators is heard with no name attached and few repercussions. Repercussions? How Orwellian. What kind of school do you go to?

    "Criticism on chat boards should be interpreted with thick skin," Chernak said in an e-mail. Please tell me you tried to interview him another way first "It is sometimes useful to know what fans of GW basketball are thinking, but this fact in its own right certainly is not the driving catalytic factor for decision making."

    In fact, Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz and Hobbs, two of the most visible figures in the athletic department, You mean to tell me that the AD is one of the "most visible figures in the athletic department?" Stunning! Seriously, why did you feel the need to tell me that? said in separate interviews that they never read the boards *cough* Bullshit *cough* and put no stock in their contents, largely because posters are not required to register or identify themselves. Kvancz said he hears of the content from other administrators and boosters who call or e-mail him. Hobbs said he ignores most college basketball sites, including professional recruiting sites.

    "I don't care what they think," Hobbs said of the nearly 400 die-hard fans who post on GWHoops. "All I care about is the product that's being put on the court and how the guys are playing and winning. All I care about is winning. I don't care about anything else." At this point, my follow-up would have been: So when you say that all you care about is winning, does that mean that you don't care about how many athletes you graduate? What was your graduation rate last year, by the way? How did it compare to the rest of the college?

    "Write me a letter, sign your name and I'll respond," Kvancz said of the site. "Otherwise, I can't care what you say."

    But one GW basketball player did care and let fans know it. Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock, a former standout here, was violently How many teeth did he lose? criticized for leaving GW before beginning his senior year to support his two children. Hadley removed the thread, something he rarely does. Pinnock said that most GW men's players loathe the site. And can't stop reading it
  4. "I hated seeing what they wrote on (there) and then having to shake their hands or sign autographs for their kids," Pinnock said in an e-mail to The Hatchet in December. What's written on this board? If it's just that so and so can't guard the three, then I would have challenged the players a bit on this. If what's written is true crap, then was the story worth writing in the first place? "I feel that a lot of people feel that we owe them something and we don't."

    Hobbs forbids his players from posting on the site and encourages them not to read it. Kvancz said that if it was discovered someone in the athletic department was posting information they gathered at work, because, as we know, if a fan found out about the true nature of Joe Players wrist injury, then democracy as we know it would crumble. Seriously, fired? What the hell would someone post that would be deserving of being fired? Kvancz seems like a piece of work. he or she would be fired.

    The commotion over this Web site is something Hadley said he never expected. The site started in 1995 as a place to post information about recruits. As the site expanded, Hadley was urged by many of the site's faithful users to include a message board. In the 10 years of its existence, GWHoops has gone from receiving 300 hits to upwards of 10,000 a day. Hadley said he tries to alert the coaches to the negative nature of GWHoops by sending incoming coaches an e-mail when they are hired. Mike Jarvis, Tom Penders and Hobbs all received that message, but Penders was the only coach to reply.

    Hadley said despite the site's rampant criticism the site is an it. It can't criticize anything. Its users can. And is there a difference between rampant criticism and just plain ole' criticism. If there is, show me. If not.... of the basketball program, it keeps fans interested in the team.

    "If Hobbs complains about things like not being on TV, or having a little arena, or bad facilities or having a townhouse too small to bring recruits to, these are the people you are going to get that stuff from," Hadley said. "So if they're not interested in basketball, they don't have a reason to stay interested in basketball, then Hobbs doesn't have a reason to stay at George Washington."

    Despite his hesitations and lack of interest in the site, Hobbs said he's encouraged that there's interest in his team.

    "I like that. I just want to make sure they come to every game," Hobbs said. "If you're going to write about it, I hope they come to every game."

    Couple things...

    1) - Whenever I see a story about an Internet discussion board, I always think that its influence is over stated. And, I always suspect, that the author of the piece is a regular at the board. As I stated above, there are some interesting PR developments that have to do with internet discussion boards. Writing about a bunch of fans bitching about the coach, while trying to figure out if GW#4 really is who they think he is. is very 1998.

    2) - FOCUS. Is the story about Chernak using the board to defend the school, or is it about Pinnock and the players alleged hatred of it? Is it about how it influences recruiting (good and bad) or how the AD is trying to stop people from reading it? As it stands now, there are too many different ideas in it.
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