Let’s take a look at the front page of today’s The Justice, shall we?

Some selected articles:
Forum: “Not exactly need blind”
“Acceptance rate up 8 percent”
“Golf team raises funds to continue program”

Now, the Justice has a mission to report the facts as soon as they can, but can we all awknowledge that it was a possibly bad circumstance for this all to be printed on the newspapers on accepted students day? This is a situation where no one was at fault, I suppose. I mean, transparency and honesty is a good thing. Still.

PR Fail.

13 comments on “The Justice today was a PR misstep”

  1. Alex Norris Says:

    Is the purpose of campus newspapers to be the PR agents of the university? That’s what Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications is for.

  2. Sahar Says:

    You’ll notice I never implied nor said that the Justice was wrong at what it did.

    The point is, this is a thing that happened. The Justice knows exactly what they were doing, and the administration knows what they were up to as well.

  3. Adam Hughes Says:

    “The Justice knows exactly what they were doing, and the administration knows what they were up to as well.”

    I really don’t think that’s true. Every newspaper comes out with two or three stories like this every week; it’s just a side effect of the budget crisis. And what does the Justice have to gain from trying to make the University look bad on accepted students day?

    If you read all those articles, you’ll realize that each is related to some new information that came out over the past week. Tuesday’s paper was the natural place for them to come out. I agree that it doesn’t exactly paint Brandeis in the best light, but I definitely don’t think there was any intent behind it.

  4. Matt Says:

    It’s a nice counterbalance to the… strategically-circumscribed truths that Admissions feeds them. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’ve started tacking on a disclaimer to my usual starry-eyed spiel about Brandeis because I really don’t know if the university I loved as an admitted student is going to be around in 4 years.

    The administration knows that regardless of how displeased current students become with the changes being made, they aren’t likely to leave. If they perceive that the things they do that affect our lives are also scaring off prospects, they’re more likely to think twice about them. This is especially true because part of the last financial restructuring plan we saw is dependent on getting more of those prospective students.

  5. Justin Says:

    we still have a $550 million endowment. we’re not going anywhere in 4 years of 40 years.

  6. Justin Says:

    4 years or* 40 years

  7. stuart young Says:

    Sahar is exactly right. Buried in the very same issue of The Justice was an article reporting on a Brandeis alumna being appointed Undersecretry of Education by Obama. That’s something to be proud of and much more indicative of the fundamental excellence of the school than a transitory decrease in applications based on the economy–and one smaller or similar to other top schools–Williams, Middlebury etc.–a fact which wasn’t even mentioned in the article. I’m not suggesting that editors of The Justice need to feature only positive news, but it’s not in the interests of the Brandeis community, especially on ASD to emphasize the negative and minimize the positive.

  8. stuart young Says:

    One other point about The Justice’s play of the applications story. In that same article, the Dean of Students is quoted as saying,”the academic quality of the applicant pool and the accepted students in general has improved in terms of SAT scores and other indicators.” That’s what counts in maintaining the vibrant intellectual/artistic environment that is Brandeis. In my opinion, that should have been the sub-head or in the first paragraph at least–not to say that the decline in applications, in context of the economy and peer schools, shouldn’t have been addressed.

  9. Adam Hughes Says:

    Hmm, why would a story on a Brandeis grad being appointed to the Obama administration receive less attention than one about increased admissions rate? It couldn’t be because the latter story has far more impact on students’ day-to-day lives in just about every area of campus life, could it?

    Sorry if I’m being sarcastic, but it just seems ridiculous to me to believe that the Justice is intentionally trying to make Brandeis look bad. We’re in a difficult financial state right now, and there’s naturally going to be more bad news than good news.

    And I don’t even think the article in question is that negative. Most of it comes from the administrator’s mouths, the Gateway and faculty contact programs seem like great ideas, and the accepted students quoted are uniformly positive about their contact with Brandeis. If I’m an accepted student reading it, I already know that times are tough for everyone financially. What the article tells me is that Brandeis is employing some unique and effective programs to deal with it. If I’m choosing a college during a recession, then I want one that is adapting and innovating despite its financial woes.

  10. Sahar Says:

    I think people are mischaracterizing the original post. The spirit of it was supposed to be “this is happening”, instead of “this is a good/bad thing”.

    Though, if anyone is at fault, I think it’s the PR firm’s for letting this data be released at this specific week, and not before or after.

    Definitely not the Justice; they’re just doing their job.

  11. stuart young Says:

    Sahar’s characterization was correct to begin with. This was a misstep. The Justice editors are supposed to be independent of thought not independent of sensitivity to the well being of the very community of which they are a part. The point is not that it’s “natural” to have more bad news than good news, but that the story unduly emphasized the bad news, i.e. the raw decline, and without sufficient specific context of peer schools with similar or more severe drops, while deemphasizing the good news, i.e. the fact that “the academic quality of the applicant pool and the accepted students in general has improved in terms of SAT scores and other indicators.” Those are the facts that should be most relevant to the student body, not the game of numerical “exclusivity.” And, most critically, the paper prominently featured this negative package on ASD, when well-qualified prospectives “on the fence” could personally pick up a copy to read. I dont’ begrudge the editors their independence But even independent journalism should be sensitive to its effects.

  12. Miranda N. Says:

    (@) Stuart Young
    ” than a transitory decrease in applications based on the economy–and one smaller or similar to other top schools–Williams, Middlebury etc.–a fact which wasn’t even mentioned in the article.”
    Yes, it was, even if the schools were not specifically named:
    “Eddy attributed the decline in applications to the financial crisis, referring to other smaller liberal arts institutions with smaller endowments that have faced declines ranging from 2 to 20 percent. At the same time, Eddy said that there has been an increase in the number of applications at public universities and at universities with larger endowments, as they are able to offer generous financial aid.”

  13. Miranda N. Says:

    @ Sahar:
    “Though, if anyone is at fault, I think it’s the PR firm’s for letting this data be released at this specific week, and not before or after.”
    One of the other articles in the issue discussed how Brandeis basically for all intents and purposes ended its affiliation Raesky Baerlein. Also, RB main focus had to do with the Rose issue. For the most part, RB has not been speaking for the university, The Justice has still been able to get in contact with senior administrators on variety of issues throughout this time. This announcement was made at a Faculty Meeting in a context basically separate from the Rose, in which RB would not have been expected to have very much influence.
    http://media.www.thejusticeonline.com/media/storage/paper573/news/2009/04/07/News/Pr.Firm.Term.At.An.End-3700263.shtml
    “In an e-mail to the Justice, Miles wrote, “The Rasky Baerlein contract was for a two month duration and most of Rasky Baerlein’s work was completed at the end of last week. Rasky Baerlein will no longer be serving in a day-to-day spokesperson role for the University with regard to the Rose [Art] Museum.””