Response to Umass Article


In the article, I found that Tracy Jan did a fair amount of research. I thought the data she used in her article was very supportive to her intended direction of the piece. The lead was not very compelling – a delayed lead at best, did not grab my attention like the headline did. The structural layout, including readability seemed to flow. It was an easy read which featured a lot of quotes from the Chancellor, citizens and the former Governor. All of the above techniques worked for me with the exception of one key aspect – fairness.

In my eyes, this article is very one-sided. Tracy used commentary from both sides, the Chancellor and a potential student. However the supporting arguments in her article greatly favor a negative view of the University. There is not enough declared fairness in this story. Her main rebuttal from the Chancellor states only of the universities intent to improve the facility and raise the school’s prestige through new technologies, research and scholarships. Immediately following, she repeats  her previously stated claim of the lack of funding and endowment allocated.

With each attempted positive claim with regards to the university, comes a largely unsupported negative light. For example, Micheal Dukakis once said in 1986 that “it doesn’t make sense for us to try to duplicate that.” To which she responds with, “A sentiment that prevails in some corners today.” Where is the evidence supporting that? The only counter she could provide was a poorly represented anecdotal story as the focus of her article. The idea that the school is a safety school, or is not prestigious enough comes from a family who view the school as a second tier state institution. This could be attributed to a lack of endowment and a crumbling campus.

In summary, if she had provided a report from ‘the other side’ like from a student who came to the school for it’s cost effectiveness and social atmosphere, the story wold have proven to be fair and balanced. The reason the article produced so much controversy was because it was not objective enough, being too biased towards a traditional 4.0 student’s desired career path.

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