Letter: Academic focus

April 17, 2013


To the editor:

The Saturday Column (April 13) emphasized that universities should put the spotlight on academics. For too many years, athletics has dominated the news, whether good or bad. Pick up any edition of the Lawrence Journal-World, and you will find one or more lengthy articles about the coaches with nary a mention of the chancellor. I am not against athletics, but the academic-athletic scale is unbalanced.

How to spotlight academics? The editor has an excellent venue for doing so. Let’s turn on the light by introducing a new section of the newspaper, “Academics,” a section equivalent to “Sports.” Don’t depend on press releases; ascend Mount Oread and talk to people, not just administrators, but the men and women who make Kansas University what it is: a vibrant, but presently floundering, university. Select a columnist for academics, someone equivalent to Keegan in sports. So, Mr. Editor, take a bold step; you and the Journal-World might go down in history for initiating an equivalency in news reporting — academics equals athletics.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

Sports coverage drives ad sales. Coverage of academics, not so much. End of story.

parrothead8 5 years, 1 month ago

And this is perpetuated by the people providing the coverage. Isn't that kind of the point Mr. Duellman was making?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 1 month ago

You're right-- but bread and circuses have long been a favored method of distracting the masses so that the ruling elites could do what they want with impunity.

Why vote in local elections when there is year-round drama in basketball and football to obsess over?

msezdsit 5 years, 1 month ago

..."Let’s turn on the light by introducing a new section of the newspaper, “Academics,”.....

I think this is a good idea but would probably bring in as much revenue as PSA's do. In this world where capitalism and the all mighty dollar rule, get used to the sports headlines.

Hudson Luce 5 years, 1 month ago

This is a good idea - and there's plenty to report on: just see http://www.researchmatters.ku.edu/

Examples include:

"Ilya Vakser, professor and director of the center for bioinformatics at KU, says modeling these interactions is vitally important. But until now, scientists thought years of work lay ahead before a useful set of templates could be completed. Now, Vakser and colleagues have discovered that an almost-whole set exists already, a breakthrough with far-reaching implications for structural biology.

Vakser: Proteins are the building blocks of life, they are at the heart of molecular mechanisms, of life systems, so there are the most important components of life. So if we know things about proteins, we can tell a lot about how living systems operate. We can gain a lot of fundamental knowledge about biology, but also can learn to how to cure diseases." http://www.researchmatters.ku.edu/2012/november/protein.shtml

"“Using the iPad, not only can they interact with a screen, but we can teach them through a series of steps to control things on that screen,” the KU researcher said. “There are so many apps already available; we don’t have to go out and make our own apps. There are apps available to make a communication board. There are apps available that have different levels of difficulty. Parents of children with CVI are already learning that the iPad works well. There are blogs that say, ‘Look at this one’ or, ‘Look at that one! My child is responding to this app.’”

“With the proper intervention techniques, the amazing thing is that the child’s brain grows the brain cells needed in the cerebral cortex,” she said. “It grows the brain cells necessary to begin understanding what their eye is seeing. So they develop the ability to interpret images, sometimes just partially, sometimes fully.” http://archive.news.ku.edu/2011/october/5/ipad.shtml

Carol Bowen 5 years, 1 month ago

The Journal World has improved. There are more articles and better coverage. The local campaign was covered very well. The 2011 campaign had meager coverage. National and international news is more than a side bar. There have been more articles about academics. If Dolph Simons wants to balance sports with other news, it will take time. There are probably more sports reporter positions. Reorganization has to happen. My first request would be to make two news sections so that my husband and I can read the paper at the same time.

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