Staff Editorial: Nichol critics play journalists

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January 29, 2008

1:41 AM

Jim Jones ’82 may not have many friends among students at the College, but online, he and others like him may be guiding the future of the school. As the creator of ShouldNicholBeRenewed.org, Jones has amassed a veritable army of supporters, alumni and third parties alike.

p. It’s a feat that would have been impossible just two decades ago, but the internet’s power to disseminate information for free and at lightning speed has turned alumni relations on its head. One can hardly imagine creating a traditional mailing list tens of thousands strong in 1987. Destroying these barriers to entry, though, has also permitted half-truths, unverified claims and potential slander to travel quickly and anonymously. This anonymity allows webmasters and bloggers to shield informants from scrutiny while still publishing the information they provide.

p. The Flat Hat believes Jones is employing that tactic using a source close to College President Gene Nichol. He has admitted as much to Flat Hat staff and has thus far been the first to know about a number of private dealings, including FOIA requests and The Flat Hat’s unannounced interview with former President Timothy J. Sullivan. Although we favor the spread of journalism in any media, we also hope those online share a desire to report hard facts, especially when the future of the College is at stake.

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