Julie Hermann and the "great" Star-Ledger death comments
4/13/2014 11:06:00 PM
Not long ago, Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann was addressing a journalism class, when the topic of massive layoffs and changes at the Star-Leder, NJ's largest newspaper, was discussed. When asked for an opinion by one of the students, she said it would be "great" if the newspaper were to die. The comments surfaced on a blog, and she has been feeling the heat ever since. Not only from the writers at the Ledger, who were quick to react to her comments, but from some of state elected officials too. I find it hard to believe that with all of the day-to-day things she deals with on the job, wishing for "the death of a newspaper" is on the top of her list. Her comments were obviously taked out of context, and let me tell you why I feel this way. Let's say every single day, you get a phone call from a telemarketer selling you... i don't know...gutters. For the first few days, your polite response is "No thank you. I already have gutters". After a week or so of constant calls, pitching you the same gutters, you'd start to get a little annoyed. Now imagine getting that call everyday, several times a day, for the same thing. You're busy with work and your family, and every time your phone rings, it's someone calling to sell you gutters. Despite all your efforts to keep cool, at some point you would scream "GO THE $%^& AWAY" into your phone. Isn't that the same as saying as wishing for "death" to the caller? Of course not. And neither did Ms. Hermann's comments. Put yourself in her situation for a moment. A brand new, high-profile job, taking the reigns at an organization plagued with scandal. For most of us, the newspaper isn't calling every day to question our decisions, demand reasons for our actions, or digging deep into our pasts for any dirt that might make a great story. But that's just one day in the life of Julie Hermann. And when she doesn't return a call, the story becomes how she is "ignoring the media" or "refusing to be honest", which is simply unfair. Wishing for a newspapers to "die", and wishing misfortune to those who feed their familes, clothe their kids, and keep a roof over their heads working for that newspaper, are 2 completely different things. Besides, if you followed through with every "I'll kill you" thread you've ever made, even Charles Manson would be jealous.
Bert Baron can be heard weekday morning from 6 to 9 on 1450 WCTC and WCTCAM.com in New Jersey.