It can only be the mile a minute world of VP Comms and Dev.
Monday afternoon of election week and The Observer is sat in the new Common Room dying for a bottle of coke. But the stage is now set (literally and metaphorically) for the day’s hustings, so this writer will stuggle on against the forces of thirst for the sake of journalistic integrity.
Today is the turn of the VP Comms and Development postition. Before this article can begin proper, you will have to forgive this writer for a lack of technological accumen (If I can get an essay typed, it’s a victory), so a lot of things went over my head during the course of this afternoon’s proceedings. This position, above almost all other exec positions, is highly technical. Or so I have come to learn.
Our two combatants for this position are Rob Munnelly and David Tuohy. Rob’s literature establishes his primary goal as a revamp of the college’s currently god awful “The Print” newspaper. Tuohy is the same though his concerns seem heavily focused on cost-effectiveness. Anyway, to this afternoon’s main event…
Rob Munnelly was the first to speak and immediately this reviewer noticed a problem. Almost the very first thing he did was to list all the journalism work he’s done, calling it “relevant work”. This is curious, because on page 8 of the NUIMSU Election Handbook, when asked what qualities are needed for the job, he said “Let’s be clear: being VP Comms and Dev has almost nothing to do with journalism”.Curious indeed. To Mr. Munnelly’s credit, he cleverly includes the qualifier “almost”,but this is a strange comment nonetheless.
But despite this initial hurdle, the core of Munnelly’s speech sounds like a man with a clear vision for this position. Speaking of the aforementioned “Print”, Munnelly said “An effective student newspaper is the lifeblood of a college”. Rob wants a complete overhaul of the publication, putting the blame for previous failures upon a lack of man hours and training. He says that under his administration, such failures would be a thing if the past and we could expect, a new and improved level of student journalism (though quite frankly, the only way the quality can really go is up.)
Moving down the list of his proposals, the most promising mention was the idea of a message board for students, presumably of the nature of most phpBB message boards one might encounter. There was no mention in this speech of what that board may consist of, how it would be moderated, and by who, but it is certainly an avenue that should be explored by whoever wins. His final major proposal was his most unique. To save money and hassle, Munnelly proposes the incorporation of printer card chips into student cards. He insists that all necessary parties are interested in making this a reality, so it will be interesting to see how practical such a concept may be.
Dave Tuohy took to the stage with a tumult of applause from his small but vocal fan club. Tuohy makes no secret that among his priorities is a great improvement in the quality of college sports in publications like The Print. A great idea for sure, but surely the overall quality of the Print and the SU website should be the priority. Those are the only issues The Observer has heard the student body talking about. But understandably, the man is playing to his strengths. He is a sports writer after all. Tuohy also took care to stress how crucial the promotion of student bands is, and this is true. On far too many nights, The Venue sits idle. We don’t have a vibrant college music scene here, and the bands themselves suffer for it. A committment is needed,in the form of a joint operation between Ents and Comm/Dev to create a music scene here. But Tuhoy’s suggestion for getting the word out? Myspace. I’ll say that again, myspace. All i need to say about that is that current Saturday Night Live head writer Seth Myers recently described myspace as “The internet’s abandonned amusement park”. To say that this particular proposal is dated is to say that we are prone to the odd spot of rain in these parts. No offense to Mr. Tuohy, but if this is what he expects will get him elected, The Observer will run for Ents Officer on a platform of introducing Stickball Night. From this point in Tuohy’s speech it had become evident that he had lost the crowd. Except Team Tuohy in the corner, still rabid for evry syllable. Rob could have just gone home after this speech, reasonably assured a victory, haveing presented an altogether more professional and organised campaign. However much Tuohy attempted to win back the electorate with enthusiasm, no amount of vim and vigour could save him from what this reviewer began to realise as being an inevitability.
Perhaps most bruising of all to the Tuohy campaign was how he fared on questions from the floor. While his heart is in the right place, and he has correctly identified the things the student body require from future Comms/Dev work, those present began to question whether he is actually capable of accomplishing any of these things. When questions of programming, publishing software, and many things I can’t even spell were thrown at him, David faltered. Some present were of the belief that Rob had planted these questions in the crowd in order to deliberately expose his opponent. If this is true, while certainly not the cleanest of tactics, one has to be reminded that politics is a dirty game, and Rob simply played it better.