Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WUGA Radio

I often offer mild criticism of the local news media, even student efforts. It's kinda my job.

For example, this week I had an exchange with The Red & Black over something as silly as a sports list (I was, of course, right) and I've often criticized Newsource, the student broadcast/web site (and I really should criticize this awful package that is inappropriate to the point of being offensive, but that's for another day. Watch it. You'll see, or rather hear). And I often pick on the Athens Banner-Herald/OnlineAthens so often there are too many links to include, most often about misuse of poll numbers.

But I've never mentioned our local NPR station, WUGA.

In full transparency, I've done a few radio shows on WUGA and had a great time doing it. And I'm not picking on one particular story, but they had UGA President Jere Morehead on a jillion times yesterday talking about a PETA story and other UGAesque stuff and it occurred to me -- should they offer a disclaimer?

Let me explain.

WUGA falls under the PR arm of UGA, answering to a vice president of marking or some such nonsense. The station covers the university. Should there be a disclaimer on a UGA story that tells its audience of this very conflict?

Yes, I think there should be one, a sentence at most.

Be honest with your audience. The stuff ran yesterday was all from the university's side, Morehead giving his position, and it was all happy news. Happy happy news. We're ranked in this, we're ranked in that. People love us, they really love us. Yeah, we kick academic ass, but the point remains -- the station owes its audience transparency about how it's an arm of UGA's public relations department. Perhaps the flacks take a hands-off approach. Yeah, up until the point something goes terribly wrong. Then it'll be hands on and all over the place, especially at UGA where the administration is trying to centralize every thing possible. There's a story there, by the way, but one not easy to get.

So now WUGA gets its turn. Who's up next?

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