4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, February 23, 2006
U be Slirbigan i tIg
DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
retired for about
four days now.
- Eric Zornes, a 40-year-old maintenance
mechanic at a meat processing plant, after
winning part of the $365 million Powerball
jackpot, the largest lottery prize in U.S. his-
tory, as reported yesterday by CNN.com.
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"Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.
Journalism's next generation
AuSON Go W [)\ATCHES TlE WATCEN
A group of 20- the one that gathered the young reporters, includ- as much as the Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers did.
somethings ing me, together to talk about the future of print That's just insulting.
sit in a dimly journalism - recently offered dozens of buyouts To be honest, I'm part of the problem. I read
lit living room, sip- and may soon resort to layoffs. 75 percent of my news online, at zero cost. The
ping cheap champagne Shareholders of Knight Ridder, the second- only exceptions to this online rule: The Michigan
drinks. Perched pain- largest newspaper company in the country yet Daily (already free) and the copies of the Wall
fully on the edge of still in financial trouble, is looking for somebody, Street Journal found strewn along the sidewalks.
a time-worn futon, I anybody, to buy the company at what they deem The last time I actually paid for a newspaper was
swish my guava-pine- a reasonable price. right before a job interview.
apple bubbly concoc- Even more disturbing, The New York Times By now, we've grown accustomed to reading
tion. I am, with a sense is now making us pay to read its commentary off computer screens and navigating through
of oppressive awkwardness looming over.my online, and a subscription to the Sunday Times blogs. We get our information through RSS
head, hanging out with "young journalists" has gone up by $5. The horrors. feeds, expect it to be near-instantaneous and
- new hires and co-interns from the newspa- But it's not the floundering of the newspaper handpick our news sources: Slate.com for sting-
per I work for over the summer. We talk about industry that makes me reach for the cabernet sau- ing commentary, Nytimes.com for Maureen
Eminem and shopping and Thai food. That is, vignon. Rather, it's the futile attempts to save the Dowd, Washingtonpost.com for election cover-
until the real reason for this get-together rears dying breed. It's the desperation that reeks from e- age, Freep.com for the Pistons.
its unpleasant head. mails asking interns and young staffers not to pour In other words,the traditional newspaper, espe-
Prompted by the most senior in attendance (a coffee and run errands, but to come up with story cially the type that caters to its local constituency,
short 25-year-old, with, not surprisingly, a face ideas with teen appeal or form a de-facto taskforce is in big trouble. Kids these days just aren't used
for print journalism), we launch into a discussion to brainstorm ideas to save the company. to paying for news - kind of like how we don't
about the grim future of newspapers. At face value, the kid-centric approach sort of like paying for music or movies.
To make a long, description-filled story short, makes sense. But as much as I mourn the soon-to-be lost tra-
I quickly finished my drink and made a beeline Newspaper readers are getting older. They are dition and romance of, newsprint, it's really not
to the kitchen for another. also eventually dying off! But unlike in the past, the end of the world. All the things we expect
Why all the uneasiness and self-medication? they aren't being replaced by younger readers from newspapers - even muckraking and
Thinking about what lies ahead for my pro- who have a dime or quarter to spare. The solu- whistle-blowing local news - will find a home
posed profession - newspaper journalism, if tion: pander to the age group. somewhere else, probably on the Internet. And if
you haven't figured it out yet - is discourag- Yet the problem with this strategy of attract- newspaper companies can find a way to go with
ing, at best. ing young readers with youth-oriented material the flow and stop blindly clawing at the past,
We all have heard the stats: As of November, -is that it assumes that the reason we aren't buy- they might be able get their act together. Instead
newspaper circulation dropped 2.6 percent in just ing newspapers is because we don't want to read of hiring interns who rescue the company, the
six months. One of the worst-off papers, the San what's already there. Maybe we're too stupid or young'uns can do what they were brought in to
Francisco Chronicle, saw circulation fall more too lazy or too apathetic. do: make a killer cappuccino.
than 16 percent. Ad revenues aren't doing much I'm no cultural anthropologist, but I can't
better. Profit margins may not be basement-level imagine that 20 and 30-year-olds today are so Go can be reached
quite yet, but then again, my former employer - degenerate that they don't care about the news at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you save no money, you're ahead of the game
AARON KAPLAN LI FE DXESN'T GET AN A
F orget 1999 - the Great Depression, and the average American tion since, um, ever, he'll get what he wants and
Americans are still always managed to end the year in the black. it'll mean more taxes for every responsible, hard-
saving like it's Always. Until now. working family out there.
1933. To most college students, getting the lat- The negative savings rate hasn't gotten much
In 2005, the national est Xbox or planning that perfect spring break attention in Washington. Was a line or two in the
savings rate was negative trip is much more important than figuring out State of the Union too much to ask? "Producing
for the first time since how an IRA works. That's only natural, and ethanol from wood chips and stalks or switch
the Great Depression. it's perfectly fine. The problem, though, is that grass" made the cut. How about throwing in a
The average American these cavalier financial attitudes are no longer good word for bank accounts? We could use it.
spent every penny of stopping when people get their first real job or If your boss offered to give you $1 for every $1
what he earned last year, get married or have kids. Everyone except the you saved in a retirement account (about four out
then went into debt so he could spend 0.5 percent handful of Bill Gates Jrs. out there is going to of five employers offer some kind of matching
more. That means a family that earned $100,000 have to save eventually. Love New York? Plan contribution), would you take him up on it? Even
spent $100,000, saved $0, then went into debt to on spending at least $1 million on your house. if you said "it would be stupid not to," your taxes
spend another $500. Want to send three kids to the University from will still probably go to help pay for the retire-
Forget trivialities like buying a house, sending out of state? How does $400,000 sound? You ments of the 25 percent of eligible workers who
the kids to college and paying for retirement. Cir- get the picture. tell their boss to keep his money.
cuit City it is. In case you think I sound like your parents, Right now, the negative savings rate is one of
I'll give Joe Sixpack a pass on not putting let me be perfectly clear: This is not your prob- a long list of Real Problems (the budget deficit,
money away in 1932 and 1933, the only years the lem. You're not making much money anyway, so global warming, Medicare) that the government is
national savings rate has been negative since the I'm not blaming the lack of national savings on happy to ignore in favor of fake problems like gay
statistic was invented. The Great Depression was Winter Tan Girl from your psych class. This is marriage. Even if President Bush made savings a
happening. When you're worried about putting your dad's problem, your older sister's problem national priority, though, progress would probably
food on the table and not getting thrown out on and Uncle Rick's problem. It'll be your.problem be slow. This is the country where I can wake up
the street, retirement has a way of falling off your eventually, but only if you decide to buy houses in the morning to 760 WJR, a mainstream station
radar screen. Even today, unfortunately, about you can't afford and think your ski trip is free that caters to adults, and hear a commercial that
one out of eight Americans lives in poverty and because you're armed with a Capital One No promises to "obliterate the myth that you need a
millions more have trouble making ends meet, so Hassle Card. down payment to purchase a home."
I'm not blaming the working poor. Actually, I just lied. It will be your problem How about making the down payment, leaving
But a negative savings rate in 2005? Really? eventually, no matter what you do. It'll be your the Lexus for later and saving $10,000 per year
This isn't about President Bush's economic pol- problem because when Uncle Rick reaches age for 40 years at an 8-percent rate of return? You'll
icy, the struggling auto industry, Sept. 11 or any 65 and realizes he barely saved anything for end up with $3 million bucks. And you'll need it
other short-term factor. The unemployment rate retirement, he's not going to look around and say: to bail out your parents.
in December 2005 was 4.9 percent, well below "Okay, I guess I'll be poor now" No. He's going
historical averages. Besides, we've had plenty of to want the government to pick up the slack, and Kaplan can be reached
recessions, bear markets, and mass layoffs since since the Baby Boomers are the biggest genera- at email@example.com
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Students deserve better
BY RESE FOX AND WALTER NowINSKI
The Michigan Progressive Party, like the
rest of campus, recognizes that the Michigan
Student Assembly needs reform and a healthy
dose of professionalism. We believe that MSA
can be an effective advocate for students. We
expect a capable, financially responsible and
effective MSA. That's why we're running on
a platform of better housing, better classes and
a better student government. Even as a new
party, we've begun our efforts to win concrete
victories for students.
Better housing: Imagine walking out the
doors of the UGLi after a late-night study ses-
sion. You pack away your headphones to stay
alert. Yet as you cross off of campus and into
your neighborhood, the lighting is dim and
the blue emergency phones that dot campus
sidewalks are nonexistent. Reports of recent
robberies and assaults keep running through
your brain. You quicken your pace, hoping
not to become an unfortunate but unsurpris-
MPP wants you to feel safe in your neighbor-
hood. That's why we created Students Promot-
ing Active Neighborhoods. SPAN will mobilize
students and pressure Ann Arbor City Council
to address student concerns like safety, unfair
parking-permit programs and corrupt landlords'
intolerable business practices. Right now, neigh-
borhood associations dominate City Council.
SPAN will balance the scales for students. For
example, SPAN is already working to push
through the proposed lease-signing ordinance.
MPP successfully lobbied City Council to
improve the ordinance, adopting specific pro-
posals we brought to the MSA-sponsored public
hearing last month and to Mayor John Hieftje.
Thanks to MPP's efforts, students will get to
tour houses for almost a month without landlords
pressuring them to sign a lease, allowing students
more time to find the best places to live.
Better classes: Wouldn't it be nice to walk
into the first day of class and know that you're
going to have a great semester? Shouldn't you
know how effective your professor's lectures
are before you get back your first midterm?
Don't you have the right to textbook lists
a month before classes start so that you can
avoid the aggravation of astronomical book-
store prices or late packages? MPP thinks so,
and that's why we're going to give students the
best possible tools to pick courses and order
MPP is tired of illegitimate excuses that lock
up textbook lists. MPP is rallying to pressure
professors to release book lists a month before an
upcoming semester so that students can receive
online book orders before classes meet. To fur-
ther improve classes, we're going to get students
excited to use Advice Online, MSA's underused
class review website, by revitalizing it with
much-needed features like a display of the best
and worst courses at the University. An education
costs of tens of thousands dollars, and students
deserve more than a tenured professor whose
only concern is an upcoming journal paper.
A better student government: MPP is fighting
for students to get real results. We're developing
a comprehensive platform that we encourage
you to see at www. nichiganprogressiveparty.
com. We refuse to settle for the status quo. Vot-
ing for MPP means voting for better housing,
better classes and a better student government.
You deserve it. MPP will deliver it.
Fox is an LSA senior and an MSA
representative. Nowinski is an LSA junior.
They are the Michigan Progressive Party's
MSA presidential and vice presidential
Cartoon 's depiction of
demeans people of faith
TO THE DAILY:
Alexander Honkala's cartoon (Fetid
Chumbucket, 02/22/2006) was not only
an erroneous portrayal of the current reli-
gious climate but was in incredibly poor
taste as well.
The fact of the matter is that Christians,
Muslims or any other people of faith are not
there is so much religious-based conflict in
the world today.
counters 'Vagina' criticism
TO THE DAILY:
On behalf of every intelligent, worthy, and
necessary person of color: It's ironic how most
of the script for "The Vagina Monologues" is
It's the year 2006: Must Latinas, Indians,
Asians and blacks beg for more positive rep-
The letter writer was a cast member in this
year's production of "The Vagina Monologues."
Ahnold proves you don't
need womb to give birth
TO THE DAILY:
Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Kevin Bunkley, Gabrielle DAngelo,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Ashw.in Jagan-
nathan, Mark Kuehn, Frank Manley, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Katherine Seid, Ben