An interesting blog item today from Joe Hice, N.C. State's top communications officer.
He swears the Technician, NCSU's student newspaper, isn't going to vaporize anytime soon because the university is 'behind' it.
And he thinks people sounding alarm bells about its fate - the paper has no leader right now and not enough workers - are overdoing it.
A snippet from his blog post today: "Despite the lunatic fringe out there who are spreading rumors that the Technician may go away, it’s not gonna happen. NC State is behind the newspaper and student media. Lots of soul searching going on and no doubt, a reorganization or rearrangement may be in order, but gone. Never."
Okay, sounds good. But "lunatic fringe" ?
Here's the thing. The folks who brought to light the Technician's current trouble finding leadership and student volunteers don't appear to be on any "fringe." It was the paper's own editorial board, which, last week, made a plea on its pages that read in part: "The paper needs your help, regardless of age or experience. Without student support, the paper could cease publication at the end of the semester."
Not the rantings of anyone on the periphery, but the reasoned thinking of folks squarely in the middle of the mess.
So I asked Hice what he meant when he wrote "lunatic fringe."
He got right back to me. Here's what he said:
"Eric: It's just a euphemism for those who seem to panic at the fist sign of trouble...and one of my favorite Red Rider songs. So it doesn't refer to anyone in particular. Also a technique to get people into the blog."
"I've gotta say though, I'm very impressed with the support the paper has received from former editors, writers, artists, employees. Goes directly to the passion people have for NC State in general and the importance of having a student newspaper on campus. I can't imagine this place without one. I'm sure you've seen www.savetechnician.com. Wow! I also posted a long message from Tim Peeler, a former editor, describing what's happening and how people can help."
So my follow-up to Hice was whether NCSU is getting formally involved in the Technician's business and offering up resources of some sort, since he said the university is "behind" the paper.
He wrote: "From conversations I've had with folks in student affairs, student media, student government, I have heard nothing but support for Technician and the importance of the student newspaper. I'm not aware of a formal plan, but have to believe something is in the works."
Stay tuned. And thanks, Joe Hice, for your prompt responses to my questions.