Letter from the Editor previous regarding cover

Most every college newspaper editor in the country sits down at a news budget meeting and reviews the content planned for the next issue. It is up to those editors to approve or disapprove — to challenge his staff and writers to push the limit.
When the topic of last week’s cover arose, I thought it was it was a great idea. Many students, including myself, until recently, did not know HPV could lead to throat cancer and, in fact, is a leading cause of throat cancer. That being said, it was a no-brainer that the story itself was cover-worthy. So how could we best illustrate it?
I met with the art team and management staff, and after reviewing several different ideas, I felt this was the most appropriate cover to complement the story. Yes, of course there was a bit of shock value to the cover, and I also knew this would make more readers than usual likely to pick up and read the paper.
When deciding on a cover, there are a number of things I look into — from  advertising repercussions to media law. I make sure the Spinnaker is on solid ground before printing every issue — in this case we were.
The cover did cause some controversy, as many of you will have seen in the local and national media, but this was all a positive thing. It revealed the University of North Florida’s president and his administration were not ready for a cover like this, and it showed a clear learning curve for them. Students throughout campus, though, were ready.
This cover was not only OK, it was properly executed. It is this forward thinking that needs to happen more often at the Spinnaker and other college newspapers. You can’t be afraid of the backlash for taking a chance on something that may be controversial, particularly when the subject is so pertinent to our readership.
It was disheartening to recieve such a negative response from the university administration who has thus far been very supportive of an independent student newspaper.
President Delaney told the Florida Times-Union the Spinnaker “crossed a decency line.”
Mr. President, I did not cross a decency line. I used the best and most well-intended judgement throughout this process.
This is not pornography — this is not indecent.
Another administrator vice president Tom Serwatka said better judgement should have been used. This type of response from administration is not in the best interest of a healthy working relationship or the campus community at large.
Delaney has asked for an appropriate response to this week’s cover from the Spinnaker. The most appropriate step is to let the process work and let the Spinnaker keep printing its paper every week.
I am in no way offering an apology in this letter. I hope the Spinnaker continues in the path I helped lay out for it this year. It is important to have covers like this and it is just as important for the university community to understand it is OK.

15 Comments

  1. One would think the editor would know how to use spell check. :/

    Yet another reason nobody likes the media. The holier than thou attitude is sickening. The cover was for shock value and is in no way forward thinking.

    The university community is your customer, and we decide what is important and what covers are important. Your egotistical attitude makes me want to throw up.

  2. One would think the editor would know how to use spell check. :/

    Yet another reason nobody likes the media. The holier than thou attitude is sickening. The cover was for shock value and is in no way forward thinking.

    The university community is your customer, and we decide what is important and what covers are important. Your egotistical attitude makes me want to throw up.

  3. You tell them!!!! So many students have your back. And honestly it’s not a big enough deal (didn’t cause harm) for them to react that way. If this were a paper that might reach the hands of children, I’d be off-put. But it isn’t. It’s for the students of UNF, which is an audience of adults and should be treated as such.

  4. I thought it was shocking, and I didn’t see anything wrong with that. We’re all supposed to be adults here.

  5. The cover made me laugh. It reminded me that the paper is done by students. It was also a great attention grabber, and it’s not like every cover stands out this much. I didn’t see it as wrong or bad.

  6. The cover made me laugh. It reminded me that it’s a student-made paper, and I though it was a great attention grabber, especially considering that every cover isn’t as loud or controversial. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I was actually more concerned that I didn’t like that it advised against all oral sex without protection, EVER. Seems radical. If you have a partner who has a “clean” bill of health, you should be able to trust them. Oh and, people should find better things to do than get mad at a student run university paper’s cover picture. I mean really.

  7. UNF Grad Student

    A university campus is a putatively literate, intelligent zone. In places where idiots and illiterates make up a large portion of the population, it is often necessary to rely on pictures or shocking images to make a point. It is saddening that UNF’s Spinnaker has crossed not a line of decency, but of intelligence. So often, college students are regarded in popular media and in government circles as little more than mental children with sexually mature bodies. This is evidenced by the fact that governments are so quick to limit certain behaviors or restrict the sale of certain products on campuses (e.g., speech codes, no tobacco sales on campus, prohibition of things like 4Loco).

    Why is there such a contradictory attitude about places that are populated almost entirely by people who are “adults” in the eyes of the state, and supposedly mature enough to make important decisions for themselves? Why do the prohibitionists justify their actions by saying (in word or deed) that “these college kids don’t know enough to make a proper decision about this?” Allow me to suggest that it is because the college students themselves fail consistently to take an adult position in the society, opting instead to be shiftless layabouts who demand that someone else clean up their messes, provide for their well-being, or in some other way live their lives for them.

    The Spinnaker’s use of the cunnilingus-suggestive image has only added evidence to confirm the stereotype of college students as snotty, callow, bellicose adolescents whose only idea of freedom of speech is the scribbling of lurid sexual images or trite platitudes all over campus, and then waxing smugly and self-aggrandizing when someone calls attention to the fact that this is not how adults conduct themselves.

    Dear Spinnaker Staff, you have not aided in enlightening anyone by using this image as your cover. You have sunken the student body deeper into the psychosis of unintelligent irrationality that characterizes the worst aspects of childishness. Literate people know what it means when someone writes the sentence: “HPV can be transmitted orally by way of cunnilingus, and can result in cancer of the throat.” Intelligent people can interpret that data for themselves and integrate it into their understanding of reality without an illustration. Using the image you did to advertise the important information only confirms what most people already think: College students are in no way prepared to act as adults in the world. If the Spinnaker suffers from a lowered readership, perhaps it would be appropriate to consider the value of its content to the intended reader, rather than insisting that what is needed to increase readership is a shocking picture on the cover.

  8. I think the cover was a stroke of creativity! Shocking yes, enough to make someone take a real look… It made headlines OUTSIDE the UNF student body and community. Isn’t that the goal of media?

    No denying it is risqué, but certainly no where near porn. The article that went with the photo is informative; though I would attribute the rise in throat cancer to dental x-rays more so than HPV and oral sex. People have been having oral sex since the dawn of time. I would find it interesting to know if other countries outside the US that do not do oral x-rays have the same rise in throat cancer? or just the US? I don’t think oral sex is to blame.

    None the less, it is a point to be considered and one I personally was not aware of prior to reading the article today. Thus, the information has been disseminated to the public.

  9. ‘UNF Grad Student’ hits it on the head. I’m an alumnus of UNF and am now in a graduate program in the north. This editorial letter strikes me as sophomoric, as does the Spinnaker itself — which, as an undergraduate, I would often wonder if anyone was editing its contents *at all*.

    The logic with which the cover decision is being justified is profoundly weak. I’ve seen the cover and I don’t object to it as such — but I think that the justification thereof is absurd.

    I’d have to side with Delaney et al. on this one. Sorry Spinnaker.

  10. Why did we do it? Because…we can.

    That’s what I hear, at least. Terrible reason, especially since it’s professed to be a REASON rather than an after-the-fact EXCUSE.

    And people continue to question the value of studying logic and philosophy unless it’s as a launchpad towards better LSAT performance. Those pursuits shouldn’t need justification at all for as long as people clearly demonstrate they aren’t at the level they should be as college students. It seems to me profoundly obvious that undergraduates are incapable of critical thought. This sort of a “letter from the editor” really demonstrates a lack in that field. Anyone who keeps up with the Chronicle of Higher Ed. is well aware, by now, that the lack of the critical skill is a red flag that could very well kill the whole enterprise of postsecondary learning. I certainly hope it doesn’t, though, for then I would be out of a job. Oh, Spinnaker….

    I’d love to hear Editor Gore’s account (…the publication is edited?!) of the sense in which this decision could be deemed an instance of what he terms “forward thinking”. It’s forward thinking to the extent that…someone might pick it up because the cover is surprisingly intimate? That sounds more like desperation for readership than it does anything remotely groundbreaking in the way of technique. Gosh…I mean, I would assume that the staff tries every week, with every issue, to design a cover that would catch the eye of the passerby. If that ISN”T the case, then Gore et al are not “forward thinking” in choosing a so-called “risque” cover, but are rather playing catch up with journalists and publishers who know what they’re doing. And if it IS the case that the staff carefully designs a cover each week, then this case is obviously NOT one of forward thinking; it just becomes something that the staff calls “forward thinking” as soon as the rationale is questioned. Like I said, it sounds like an excuse.

    Totally sympathetic to the angle of the administration, although I question this whole thing for separate reasons than do they, as outlined above.

    🙁

  11. And, instead of EITHER a reason or an excuse, it does indeed strike me that the best move for Gore at this point would be to realize that his letter will probably only make the matter worse, and to offer the requisite apology which is due — not, perhaps, for the decision on the cover, but for the most ridiculous reasoning therefore which I could have imagined.

  12. Dear UNF Spinnaker Staff, and especially (former) editor Josh Gore,

    I support your use of the cover for the paper. It was a good, strong cover, and garnered attention to an article that was important. It fit reasonably with the article, and was appropriate for a college campus.

    That does not mean that I support your response to the public’s reaction. You as a newspaper are being silly and immature. The above letter is a clear example of how not to respond to those who took offense. The proper response would have been to apologize for those you offended, while standing your ground on the cover.

    I am disappointed in your continued churlishness in this situation, and feel that all involved should simply stand back, and let things simmer down.

    Sincerely,

    K. Korona

  13. In such poor taste (pardon the pun) to do this again with the newest edition of the Spinnaker. Granted, the picture is on the inside but, seriously? It’s like having that porn magazine under your bed at 14 and pulling it out every chance you get just to see what you can get away with?

    The picture, this week, is an ‘advertisement’ by UNF Alumni who obviously agree with your right to publish it just for the shock value. I would disagree, though, that the UNF Alumni – as a whole – would support it and applaud you on your decision to publish it. The whole story has gotten lost in the mix.

  14. The cover of the last issue of the Spinnaker was genius. There are not enough students who walk past and pick up a paper, and this cover changed that. It increased awareness of a very important and vital health message to college students everywhere. The cover is “indecent,” oh please. Grow up. Aren’t we all adults here? Haven’t we all done something of the extent that the cover portrayed? So again, grow up. The editor is not at all in my opinion egotistical. He is addressing an issue of importance, while validating his actions and opinions at the same time. Taking away our spinnaker will only take away more opportunities for students. Way to go UNF, way to go.
    What’s wrong with creative expression? Didn’t anyone ever hear that seeing is believing. Maybe now campus sluts (both pertaining to men & women) will be more eager to close their legs and open their minds. What a concept.

  15. With HPV mainly targeting women under the age of 30, I think it is pertinent that such relevant information is leaked out on a college campus. Why should we hold back and shelter each other from the truth? With any sexual relations exposing us to this virus, it is only wise that one be more eagar to aquire more knowledge.
    An uproar it caused, making any and all attention paid pertinent. Because it actually meant something to people. It actually got the word out. People paid attention. People had something to talk about. Someone made a roar. Did you know HPV lead to throat cancer? Did that cross your mind the last time you took or will partake in oral sex?
    Thank you for the commotion. Thank you for making even that many more people knowledgeable about such an infecting virus. Thank you for saving people the experience of having to contract this virus and cancer simply by putting the word out there. Thank you Spinnaker.

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