Learning to report on a controversial topic: Covering the GST proposal vote

by Grace Elkus
Senior reporter

Writing the article regarding the GST proposal vote required more reporting than I had originally thought it would, but I subsequently learned a significant amount about how decisions like these are made at Elon and why some people are more willing to talk about them than others.  It wasn’t until I learned how many years of work were put into the proposal that I realized how big of a vote this was, and the fact that it was put to a full faculty vote meant it was of extreme importance.

Although I was hoping to attend the meeting during which the votes were cast, I was informed that the presence of a reporter might affect faculty participation in the discussion.  It would have been helpful to see the specifics as to how the meeting was run, who participated in the discussion, etc.  Instead, I knew that I would have to talk to faculty the following Monday.

I wanted to get a range of faculty opinions on how they felt about the proposal being voted down, but getting clear answers from some faculty proved difficult.   I was constantly re-directed to different people to talk to, and some simply said they didn’t want to comment.  Although the majority of the faculty who participated in the vote voted the proposal down, no one I talked to would explicitly say they voted no.

When it came to writing the story, it proved challenging to not have the story seem biased or one-sided because of the lack of sources I had that were against the proposal.  No further discussion was held immediately after the vote, so my first follow-up story consisted of two students’ opinions on the result of the vote.  I thought it was interesting that one of the students mentioned an over-arching concern regarding a lack of communication between faculty and students concerning these types of proposals/votes.  I think it is true that many students did not know about the GST proposal, which is one of the reasons why I was happy I got to write about it for The Pendulum.  I will be doing a second follow up for this weeks paper, which will include the specifics of what was discussed at various meetings following the vote.

For more on this subject, check out this week’s issue of The Pendulum.

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Filed under Town of Elon, Writer: Grace Elkus

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