Sunday, April 19, 2009

One more week...

One more week, and you'll have to pay attention in class. :)

After several months of spring semester production, The Cavalier Daily will go out of production for the summer after this week. The paper will publish a graduation issue as well as a special "summer mail-home," and will resume publishing the first week of fall semester classes.

So, what is on the final week's slate of stories? Another "Love Connection," for one. No word yet on whether anyone loses his or her shorts -- honestly, we doubt it -- but certainly interesting nonetheless. Elsewhere, expect plenty of Sports previews, as many of Virginia's teams -- including the No. 2 men's lacrosse team and the undefeated men's tennis team -- are accelerating on their way to post-season berths. And, in News, check back Friday for a series of year-in-review stories that also will make an effort to look ahead at what may happen in the coming months.

For many of us who work at The Cavalier Daily, the close of production is a simultaneously painful and wonderful experience. Our graduating fourth-year class -- congratulations to them, by the way -- already started experiencing this strange mixture of joy and forlornness weeks ago, but many current staffers are just coming to terms with the idea of no longer having to show up in the office. 

Just to show how much Cavalier Daily higher-ups appreciate staffers' commitment to the paper, the managing board will host a "Final Roll" party Thursday night to celebrate a year to remember. Hopefully, next semester brings the same kind of fun and hard-hitting journalism that has kept us going -- and has kept University students from paying attention in class -- for more than a century. Best of luck on final exams!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Featuring Honor

Tomorrow, The Cavalier Daily will publish the first article in a series of so-called "Honor Features."

These features are intended to stimulate discussion about the University's honor system and create dialogue between students, the paper, and the Honor Committee via in-depth reporting. These features are not meant, though, to serve the interests of the Committee or The Cavalier Daily -- they're meant to serve the interests of the entire University community. After all, the articles are rooted in the objective and the newsworthy -- not subjective propaganda.

So, tomorrow, when you pick up the paper, turn to the Focus section. We're exploring the "benefits" of honor. Next week, expect another feature, and the week after, too. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's in a joke?

Journalistic principles be damned. 

Tomorrow marks the annual celebration of frivolity on Grounds known as April Fool's Day. That means The Cavalier Daily will publish an issue full of jokes and (hopefully witty) attempts at humor. But what goes into this strange issue? Where does The Cavalier Daily draw the line between funny and potentially libelous or insulting?

In evaluating each story that will appear in tomorrow's April Fool's issue, the paper's Managing Board elected to apply a policy similar to its current Comics policy:

1) The work is, at a fundamental level, an attempt at humor — its primary goal is to entertain the reader.

2) The work does not unnecessarily provoke or offend.

3) The work meets the standards of The Cavalier Daily.

In applying this flexible, clearly subjective policy, the goal was to limit instances of clearly offensive content while at the same time preserve creativity and humor, which almost by definition pokes fun at something or someone. For those institutions or individuals "targeted" in tomorrow's issue, then, rest assured that all stories were written tongue-in-cheek and not meant to be taken seriously.

So, when you pick up the paper tomorrow, don't expect anything like The Cavalier Daily's typical insistence on actual sources, verifiable story ideas or fair and balanced reporting. Happy April Fool's!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Newest Media

In an effort to expand coverage of issues, provide readers with up-to-the-minute updates and increase communication between community members and the paper, The Cavalier Daily is rolling out a variety of new media and Web 2.0 features:

Why follow us on Twitter? Because by doing so, you'll get updates about the top news and sports stories + blog updates + student group updates. You can even get text message or e-mail notifications. Moving forward, The Cavalier Daily wants to keep you informed about the most important events on Grounds -- even events we wouldn't normally write news stories about. So, if you have an event or story you want to see publicized on Twitter, e-mail and put "Twitter" in the subject line. From service/social events hosted by Greek organizations to that jazz concert in Old Cabell Hall to breaking news, we'll tweet about what's on your mind.

Facebook fan page -

Why join our fan page? Because by doing so, you'll be able to enter into dialogue with The Cavalier Daily and other readers about stories and potential areas for improvement. We want to hear your thoughts, and citizen journalism is simultaneously becoming increasingly important each day. So if you've got something to say, say it. Join the group and become a fan. We're listening.


Check out for our latest blog entries (scroll down for links). Our Opinion and Arts and Entertainment sections have rolled out plenty of new media content already, and we're always looking to expand our coverage via new blogs, updates and much more. If you've got an idea, feel free to share!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Speak up so we can hear you

It is a journalist's responsibility to sift through details, develop relationships and uncover potentially interesting story ideas. But no newspaper can publish stories without sources -- and that is where The Cavalier Daily's readers and critics can enter the picture.

For almost every breaking news story or sports report, there is a whistle-blower -- someone willing to step up, "do the right thing" and say something about a perceived problem or concern. Without whistle-blowers, a newspaper ceases to remain relevant and instead becomes a vehicle for press release distribution. Without someone to highlight and illuminate issues that might otherwise go under the radar -- like the disenfranchisement of minority groups or the controversial dealings of higher-ups -- the press inevitably fails to serve its readers as best it could. Sources' voices are papers' voices; if nobody is willing to say something, The Cavalier Daily generally cannot say something, or will at least continue underreporting the stories that matter.

There is good news, though. The Cavalier Daily always is actively searching for hot leads, and there are laws governing the free press that protect sources. We understand that, for the sake of truth, whistle-blowers frequently endanger their jobs and reputations. That is why papers offer anonymity, and that is why reporters can talk about issues off the record before they go on the record. The Cavalier Daily, like any respectable media publication, values our sources and strives to protect them as best we can. So, if you are upset about our coverage of an issue or if you have a story idea, speak up. Send an e-mail to or call 434-924-1082 -- because if protection is warranted, we will provide and listen, so that we can help you make a positive impact on the world. We are not looking for skeletons in closets, but we are looking to cover the stories you care about. For both papers and whistle-blowers, it's the truth that counts.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fair, balanced and willing to hear your side of the story

Many a media organization -- The Cavalier Daily included -- has been criticized by some readers for printing stories deemed one-sided and tendentious. Before any non-editorial article is published, however, it is vetted for accuracy and fairness. If an opinion -- no matter how serious -- about an organization or person is included in an article, that organization or person must have a chance to respond to those allegations or offer an opposing/different view. Because this is the case, writers are specifically instructed early in their college journalism careers to contact "all sides," for the sake of crafting the most balanced story possible. And after a writer turns in his or her story, the article is subject to a thorough and comprehensive review by a section editor, a copy editor, an assistant managing editor, the managing editor and the editor-in-chief. The lengthy process is meant to ensure quality and consistency in terms of writing, style, reporting veracity and -- you guessed it -- bias (which is to say, of course, a lack of bias).
That being said, when The Cavalier Daily makes a dutiful effort to contact a source and/or offers an adequate response time, and that source either declines to comment or proves unavailable to comment, it falls to the discretion of the editor-in-chief and the paper's current managing board to make a decision whether to print the story as is -- without inclusion of that source's unvoiced opinions. If a story is deemed relevant or conducive to the paper's goals and mission, the article may be published and the lack of comment disclosed.
Still, just because we COULD publish a slightly imbalanced article does not mean we SHOULD. Obviously, there are times when it becomes necessary to take this approach, but such an option should be the last and least desired one. Know, then, that if a member of The Cavalier Daily contacts you about a story, chances are that it is not because he or she wants to subject you to intense questioning or unfair scrutiny -- it is that he or she simply desires for you to tell your side of the story and provide a different perspective about it, so that we can continue producing high-quality content that is both insightful and fair to all parties involved.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

UBE Elections Supplement

It may not be as glitzy as the Super Bowl – or even the recently completed Cavalier Daily elections – but our University Board of Election supplement has become an annual feature appreciated by students and local community members invested in the future of student self-governance at the University. This year, by once again partnering with UBE, we will be able to deliver the most in-depth analysis of races as they take shape. We also will be able to present candidates' responses to selected questions, so as to better inform our readers before they head to the polls about the University's future student leaders. With a variety of changes to election procedures on tap for 2009, look for The Cavalier Daily to break down the information you need to know if you intend to vote. Expect the issue to hit newsstands Monday, Feb. 16 – the day polls open – and visit for more information (including the complete schedule of events) about the upcoming University-wide elections.