Hullabaloo over the Hullabaloo
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, competition between Tulane?s student newspaper, the Tulane Hullabaloo, and The New Wave, written by professional staff employed by the university, created quite a hullabaloo. According to an editorial published Oct. 14 by the Hullabaloo staff, the Hullabaloo believes that Tulane?s administration created the New Wave with the intention of passing off what was a glorified newsletter as the main newspaper in connection with the school, and in the process undermined the Hullabaloo?s journalistic integrity.
According to the staff editorial, The New Wave is heavily biased in favor of the administration, highlighting only positive progress made since the disaster. The Hullabaloo staff acknowledges that other universities have printed similar newsletters; however, they felt that The New Wave?s slogan ? ?The Newspaper of Tulane? ? was misleading and undermined the Hullabaloo?s journalistic influence. At the request of the Hullabaloo, The New Wave eliminated the slogan, put a link to the Hullabaloo on their website, and even expressed interest in doing a story on them. However, Hullabaloo editor-in-chief Kate Schafer feels that the administration is still not listening. ?The administration is not focusing on the things that make a university a university,? she says.
The Hullabaloo is operated independent of the University and funded entirely by advertising revenue. Maggie Brooks, business manager of the Hullabaloo, claims that the administration has always been responsive to their requests and that the two parties maintain a good relationship. After Katrina, Tulane president Scott S. Cowen provided initial support to the Hullabaloo in the form of a lengthy interview. However, Schafer, who described the Hullabaloo?s relationship as better than in years past, says she was ?caught off guard? by the administration?s publication of The New Wave: ?We understand that they have a job to do, but we have a job to do too.?
Both Schafer and Brooks feel that the issue regarding The New Wave has been resolved and that there are more immediate issues that the Hullabaloo is facing currently. Schafer explains that student organizations want to know what the extent of damages
to their offices are so they can begin to repair them, but the university won?t give students practical ways to lend help. ?This isn?t about competition,? she says. ?This is about rebuilding the university.?
Brooks sees The New Wave as only a temporary publication through which the administration can communicate in the face of this emergency. She doesn?t believe the paper will continue to be published past this semester. The Hullabaloo is publishing exclusively online this semester, but is receiving no advertising revenue and will have fewer funds for the spring semester than usual.
The Hullabaloo?s advisor, Tel Francois Bailliet, does not believe these financial obstacles will deter the Hullabaloo?s staff. ?I?ve always known that the paper?s staff is dedicated beyond belief to the Hullabaloo and Tulane, so I wasn?t surprised when they decided to keep going, despite being on separate campuses,? Bailliet said. ?Proud, yes, but not surprised.?
On the other hand, Amber Stewart, a Tulane student displaced to CMU, believes both the Hullabaloo and The New Wave hold respective biases and neither is a completely trustworthy news source. She said she has not visited the Hullabaloo?s website and only briefly visited The New Wave?s website since she left Tulane. ?I think any school [in Tulane?s situation] would be trying to pump out as much good news as it can,? Stewart said. However, regardless of the news that she hears, she says, ?I know I want to go back to Tulane.?
Schafer recognizes that the university is going through a very difficult time has ultimately good intentions. She insists that ?the students on the Hullabaloo love the university.? Brooks maintains that the Hullabaloo?s biggest concern is keeping students, alumni, and community members continually informed as to the current status of their university, particularly those students now dispersed at universities across the country. It is not an obligation that the Hullabaloo staff takes lightly; as Brooks says, from the inception of Katrina, ?it was our duty to report to students.?