In the week leading up to the Michigan-Michigan State football game each year, writers from The Daily and the student newspaper at Michigan State exchange columns. You can find this year’s installment below, starting with The Daily and followed by The State News.
Kent Schwartz, Managing Sports Editor, The Michigan Daily
Four years ago, I got an email from the Michigan State University Office of Admissions. Two weeks after I had applied, I had been accepted. At the moment, going to East Lansing wasn’t really on my radar. I applied because it was fun — my senior year of high school, I got into the habit of staying up late and applying to bad schools for the validation.
As the year went on, though, I started seriously considering going to Michigan State. It seemed like a half-decent option, and hey, at some level, it’s about what you make out of your education and not the quality of the education itself.
I wouldn’t be a student journalist if I went to Michigan State. I wouldn’t have covered women’s basketball or gone to Omaha, Neb. to cover the Men’s College World Series if I went there. I’m a computer science major, and I’ve never been interested in journalism as a career.
Year after year, The State News laments the fact that we let people who want to write for us, write for us. As if giving people an opportunity to try something new and learn a valuable skill is a bad thing.
This year, State News started its jabs about J-School a little early. You would think, if J-School was worth it, maybe Adam Schefter would’ve learned not to send his articles to the subject when he did go to journalism school, at Michigan and Medill.
I get it, you have a small staff. I’m actually impressed that you have enough people to cover men’s and women’s soccer regularly, as well as volleyball. I’m happy to see that you’ve come out of the COVID-19 pandemic with a larger staff, eager to cover as much as possible.
Yet since The Daily allows any “riffraff off the street” to write for us — while The State News is competitive and its members go through a rigorous academic course load consisting of the classes “Advanced Reporting” and “Journalism History” — you’d think the sports you do write about would be high-quality.
If that was true, then why do sentences such as “Tucker is free to leave if he wants if he is offered something that he deems as undeniable” make the cut? And how come you don’t know the difference between an em dash (—) and hyphen (-), leading to this monstrously confusing sentence, “Cole said the development of the unit on sheer repetition-and the blind hope that it’ll work-and is optimistic production from their two power-play units will continue to trend in the right direction.”
But I get it, editing is hard.
You can see that in your past Dueling Columns, when, for some reason, you thought it was OK to publish this line in 2014: “Outside of sports, our parties are louder, our women are prettier.” Or, in 2013, when you thought it was acceptable to publish this: “Like the females in Ann Arbor, the past isn’t as glamorous when you take a longer look.”
Might I suggest you lean on your adult staff even more? Just this week, you needed the help of your babysitters to check that the first field you proposed to play on was only 40 yards long, instead of spending the three minutes it takes to find the dimensions of IM West’s turf arena on their website. Asking them to help you edit out sexist remarks and use proper grammar shouldn’t be that much of a stretch.
The State News’ shortcomings don’t just stop with editing skills, though: Your website blows up images to the point that they’re grainier than one of your agriculture labs. When I showed a featured image to one of our assistant photo editors with no context, she just said, “Is there anything better than that? It’s not very interesting.”
And when I showed the same photo and quote to one of our managing photo editors, she said the assistant editor was being “very, incredibly nice.” I’ll save you from hearing the rest of her quote because I’m not sure your inferiority complex can take it.
But your website’s problems go even further than that. When you load an article, this is what you see:
Great, an ad with an article attached to it. Just what I wanted to read. Even our old website, which you creatively attacked year after year, wasn’t that bad. By the way, did you see who won an Online Pacemaker Award this year?
It’s cute that you’re finally practicing for the game. Maybe your #MarginalGains will get you to the point where you lose 8-1, instead of 8-0. Maybe you won’t have to weather accusations of not trying from your own alumni. Maybe you’ll still get that keg for simply scoring on us. Maybe you’ll actually tweet a story from your sports account, something you haven’t done since Oct. 8.
When we beat you for the 16th time in a row this Friday, it won’t be because we have any ‘riffraff off the street’ on our staff.
It’ll be because we’re better than you — at journalism and touch football.
Managing Sports Editor Kent Schwartz can be reached on Twitter @nottherealkent
Eli McKown, Sports Editor, The State News
As The Michigan Daily celebrated their 15th consecutive victory over my colleagues and me at The State News in 2019 with fireworks and champagne, I came to one conclusion:
I actually feel bad for The Michigan Daily.
That felt weird to say, I haven’t said too many nice things about The Daily in the last few weeks, or ever, really.
As I sat down and began thinking about them though, I realized that this is a newspaper that has to carry the mantle for an entire city. It must be exhausting being the only news outlet in Ann Arbor.
I’m sorry Ann Arbor News, you don’t exist in their eyes.
On top of that, the students at their newspaper have to dive head first into journalism with no classroom time whatsoever, which might explain Daily alumnus Adam Schefter talking to his “editor” recently.
Wait, they had a journalism school then? No wonder they cut the program.
Oh well, journalism isn’t exactly The Michigan Daily’s strong suit. Most things aren’t, but journalism is an area in which they’re especially lacking. Especially when you take into account the big difference between the number of Pacemakers we have won compared to them.
By the way, congrats on your third ever Pacemaker, where was our congratulations when we won our 18th?
Maybe you guys were too busy trying to shovel snow off a turf field and forgot.
The Michigan Daily also seems to focus solely on our sports desk rather than our newsroom as a whole when writing these columns, even at times counting down the last time we had written a story on the sports desk. Which is odd for a publication to do, especially one that claims to be superior to us. If that were true, why get so deep into our sports coverage?
Ah wait, I forgot: they send 90 people to do one job.
Although I get zeroing in on our sports coverage, it doesn’t seem like things outside of sports coverage are their strong suit. Like their latest Mrs. Incredible fan fiction that’s … well let’s just say a little out there:
“For others, it’s the firm, round backside of Mrs. Incredible’s peachy-keen cheeks; the tight elastic of a super-suit that clings like saran-wrap around her wide, womanly hips; the perkiness of a bum, the audacity of an a–, the perfection of a pear figure — aged by 40 years like a bottle of something fine. That’s right, Mrs. Incredible is a MILF.”
Down bad today, are we?
Also, I took the liberty of helping you with AP Style and dashed out a word for you. Hope that helps, I learned that neat tip in my first journalism class. We’d include the next paragraph of the article that drops an F-bomb in it, but we try to keep our content consistent with AP Style.
Still though, you would think the only news source in Ann Arbor would have plenty of other stuff or report on. That feels especially true when considering the size of their staff. However, if I was one of 14 reporters going to a city council AND went unpaid, I probably wouldn’t be too motivated either.
Perhaps though most of all, I truly did feel bad for The Michigan Daily when our then-sports editor, now managing editor Jayna Bardahl, was peppered with emails from The Daily’s staff begging to play the game last year.
I mean seriously, you guys thought we would want to play against you in the middle of a pandemic? Y’all had a hard enough time controlling mumps.
Honestly though, it must be really hard to compete with The State News when you’re clearly the inferior newspaper in so many ways, so I suppose I understand the antics after the game in 2019 and wanting to play so badly in 2020.
Don’t get it twisted though, The State News isn’t throwing this game to the side again. Instead, we’re looking to take that from the publication out East too.
We have been preparing relentlessly for this game over the last couple of months. Film sessions, nightly practices, passionate speeches and designing intricate offenses and defenses to throw off The Michigan Daily.
We are ready to drag you down into the deep end.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding this year’s game and a lot of smack talk has been spewed on both sides. We’re fully prepared to win this game, even if we don’t, there is one thing I can guarantee after this game.
The Michigan Daily is not ready for what’s coming their way.
I wish you all good luck, you’ll need it when you face us in The Woodshed as we try to take away the last claim to fame you have.
Sports Editor Eli McKown can be reached on Twitter @Emckown23