Commentary | An ugly cover and unclear endorsements

A response to Monday’s SSMU elections special

The front page of Monday’s issue of The Daily (March 18) is the ugliest thing published in recent memory.

For starters, the pictures of the endorsed candidates look like they were cut out by children using safety scissors. Seriously, I haven’t seen edges that rough on Photoshop cutouts since I was mentoring grade-nine students in my high school’s journalism program. Then, the editors continue the middle school scrapbook feel of the whole thing by haphazardly sticking the cutouts around the border at whatever angle they could be crammed in. I mean, why is Tyler Hofmeister upside-down? Why is Joey Shea sideways? Could they have found a more smug-looking picture of Chris Bangs? It’s baffling, really.

Anyways, as egregious as these flaws are, they are far from the biggest issue with the front page. Dig Monday’s issue out of your recycling bin and try to find some sort of title or headline on the front page. Here, I’ll do it with you. Starting at the top we have “SSMU” looking like it was stamped in red ink across Hofmeister’s face. But that’s not really much of a title or headline on its own. Neither is the aforementioned “SACOMSS” that is floating around Chris Bangs’ head as if it just crawled out of his skull.

Oh, now I get it. The phrase “Say yes to…,” which is angled so that it flows into the bookstore ad beneath it, is actually supposed to apply to the candidates on the rest of the page. That seems to be a bit of an oversight, I’d say. It doesn’t help that the advertisement’s colour scheme is similar to the rest of the page, giving the sense that the rest of the front page is merely an extension of the ad.

Anyways, I guess we can move past the first page and take a look at the rest of the issue, the candidate endorsements in particular. For the most part the endorsements are fairly standard until we get to VP Clubs & Services. In this instance, The Daily has opted to endorse a “No” vote for Stefan Fong. While I understand that endorsing a vote against Fong is a viable option, I feel that the Daily has sold him short as a candidate. For instance, when discussing Fong’s experience at the Musician’s Collective, they say that “he claims he’s served as President.” He claims? Is the paper trying to imply that Fong is lying about his previous positions? I don’t mean to be overly defensive on Fong’s behalf, but this endorsement does come across as somewhat arbitrary in its criticism.

The problem, I think, is that the format of the candidate pages makes it easy for this sort of factual manipulation to occur, because the free-form blurbs written about each candidate allow the writer to include or omit whatever information best suits the conclusion they want make. In order to combat this problem in the future, I suggest The Daily use a more standardized template for each candidate, perhaps one that lists the candidates’ experience and their responses to specific questions. This will assure that the same information is included for each candidate, allowing the readers to make their own conclusions, rather than merely taking The Daily’s word for it.

Readers’ Advocate is a twice-monthly column written by Austin Lloyd addressing the performance, relevance, and quality of The Daily. You can reach him at