Don't mess this up!
Disclaimer: Calstuff and/or the opinions expressed are not
affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley.
Tenants' Rights Week
by Jason Overman
Site Feed (ATOM)
Add to LJ Friends
Cal Patriot Blog
UC Berkeley Livejournal
California Patriot Watch
The Bird House
Cal Prof on everything
Rants & Raves
Full Time Whiner
Cal "Frat" Boy
Jewish Students Blog
Soft Boiled Life
I Fought the Law
Ne Quid Nimis
Monday, April 15, 2002
Using ADVANCED CALSTUFF TECHNOLOGY, I'll be taking you inside the lines on Jennifer Kline's Vanity piece
on how she covered the ASUC elections the last two weeks. This account of courage under fire follows a young reporter as she tries to interview people, tries to interview other people, and tries not to trip in three inch heels. If all goes well, we'll convince the Daily Cal not to print silly articles about their reporters taking bribes.
The words in bold are mine.
On the Beat As Elections Get Hopping
by Jennifer Kline
Imagine running with the bulls in Pamplona and trying to grab one by the horns and hold it still for five minutes, all while avoiding being trampled or gored.
For me, covering the ASUC elections was not too different.
I find it challenging to get stories from people 4 floors below my office who really want to talk to me.
In undertaking this task, I quickly realized I had signed away, in blood, my first two weeks after spring break to The Daily Californian.
I did not sign anything in blood
Being a freshman, I had no real idea what sort of circus was about to begin. As Monday morning rolled around there was an explosion of neon chalk graffiti stretching from my dorm all the way to the edge of Bancroft Way, not to mention all the campaigners out in full force.
Election season had begun.
My Editors didn't give me the slightest clue what to expect and what to cover, and basically threw me to the ASUC like chum thrown to sharks.
As ASUC beat reporter I was not only accosted by hundreds of desperate senate candidates but also by hopeful executive candidates looking for a small advantage with their unctuous salutations.
Using my unique Daily Cal calculator, I can turn 109 Senate candidates, of whom 50 are serious, into 'hundreds.'
On one occasion, while sprinting through Sproul 30 minutes late for my 9 a.m. class, one candidate asked me to do something, I think, to which I replied, still sprinting, "Yeah, OK."
I still don't know what I agreed to.
Getting ahold of candidates could be extremely trying at times, since they were swarming all over campus with their picket signs and fliers. Even desperate phone messages like, "This story is running tomorrow and I really, really need to interview you for just five minutes," could not move them to schedule an interview time. Why they were avoiding free press through which to tout their platforms is something I have yet to figure out.
I called Mr. Kevin Deenihan for his AAVP interview at 5 PM Sunday night for an article due the next day. Thankfully, he was willing to drop everything and head on down.
But sometimes candidates were too readily available. Because of some determined senate candidate's plea for free press, I had to remove my e-mail address from the UC Berkeley directory to avoid further bothersome e-mails.
"In yesterday's article you mentioned some ASUC executive candidates, and then some senate candidates and their slogans, which was really great," the e-mail started. "However, we weren't even mentioned. I don't think it's fair that they got free press and we didn't, but I'm sure you didn't mean anything by it. But would you mind dropping our name in a future article or something?"
Damn that Hoku Jeffrey and his insistent e-mails!
One night a fellow reporter and I were invited to cover a black tie charity event. Although it was 3:30 p.m. and I had two stories that were not completed, I was graciously allowed to attend after some guilt-tripping.
I had to come back at around 7 p.m. on BART and run back to The Daily Californian's office in Eshleman Hall while wearing three-inch platform sandals and an evening gown. I tried my hardest not to trip over Berkeley's uneven sidewalks. I continued to write my stories frantically, still in the evening gown, not wanting to take five minutes to change since I was already two hours past deadline and fearing the wrath of my editors.
Despite complaining about how covering the elections takes up all my time, I'm going to undermine my whole point by demonstrating how I evaded responsibilites.
Another night, after returning from a less-than-brief ASUC meeting, I received a call from certain obsessive editors asking me to come downstairs and determine if chalkers were violating campaign laws. My fellow ASUC junkies and I ended up driving around Berkeley for an hour, examining all the chalked sidewalks. We even picked up a photographer to take pictures of possible violations. I called people involved with the Elections Council five times, and ran into the attorney general. I looked like a violation-hungry reporter who has nothing better to do at 1 a.m. on a Wednesday. The result: finding out the chalk was perfectly legal.
The fact that the elections bylaws contains nothing about chalkings probably should've been the first hint.
The week before elections, I got a total of 18 hours of sleep, attended few classes and never saw my roommates awake. My mother only knew I was alive because she would check the Daily Cal's Web site and see I had written an article.
Although covering the election may not seem like fun, it did result in the net gain of one very delicious box of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, given to me by a certain executive hopeful.
It's perks like these that make elections worthwhile.
I accept bribes
And just to be more specific on why I'm slamming Kline, this Bribe thing angers me. Doesn't the Daily Cal have some sort of ethical code against receiving candy from people who badly need election coverage, not to mention the endorsement?