The Campus Chronicle
Vol. XVIII, Issue 37
for the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts
June 27, 2003

 Page One Grain & Chaff Obituaries Letters to the Chronicle Archives Feedback Weekly Bulletin

 Page One Grain & Chaff Obituaries Letters to the Chronicle Archives Feedback Weekly Bulletin




A farewell message to our readers

F or the past week I've tried to write dispassionately about the terrible budget cuts that are forcing the closure of the Chronicle, but after 17 years with the paper, I feel as if there's been a death in the family.

     In the three weeks since the Chronicle topped the chancellor's initial list of budget cuts, my staff and I have come to realize that the sense of overwhelming loss we feel is shared by many people on and off campus. Faculty, retirees, classified and professional staff, legislators, and alumni have called or written to express their appreciation for our work and to share our sadness that, with this issue, it is coming to an end.

     During its early years, the Chronicle was a weekly experiment in institutional communication. There was, quite rightly, a great deal of suspicion about the "administration paper" and its reporting. As time passed and administrations changed, the Chronicle developed into something different than most in-house organs. We were allowed a level of autonomy to report the news in a straightforward, fair and even-handed manner. With our credibility established, the Chronicle became an important counterpoint to the student paper and provided readers with a campus perspective on issues often ignored in the local press.

     In recent years, I have sometimes described the Chronicle as published by the administration, but "owned" by its readers, who suggested stories, wrote letters, criticized or praised our work, and embraced the idea of a community newspaper that served all campus employees. As our 1997 readership survey showed, 90 percent of the readers - and 100 percent of administrators - said they were better informed about campus news and information by reading the paper. And 90 percent of those surveyed rated the Chronicle excellent or good.

     That success is the product of a talented staff, including founding editor Michael E.C. Gery, whose vision guided the paper through its early years, and our two veterans, photographer Stan Sherer and office manager Chris Davies. Along with being the Chronicle's goodwill ambassador, Stan has attracted a legion of fans with his amazing ability to capture striking images of life on campus. Chris is the backbone of the Chronicle operation. She kept the books, put the finishing touches on layout, ordered supplies, managed a succession of computer systems, learned mind-numbing People-Soft protocols, submitted travel vouchers, maintained our mailing and distribution lists and produced the Weekly Bulletin and Campus Calendar pages each week. I also am deeply grateful for the invaluable assistance and backup provided by associate editor Sarah Buchholz and former assistant editors Beth Goldstein, Christina Lillios, Rob Galvin and Mal Provost. Without them, I would never have had a vacation.

     Our heartfelt thanks also to the "Friends of the Chronicle," who are listed in an item below. This group supported us in a variety of ways, including earlier this month when many of them bombarded the chancellor with eloquent pleas to preserve their community newspaper.

    As our readers reminded us, information is a commodity within large organizations. In a place as balkanized and Byzantine as UMass Amherst can be, the Chronicle has been the "town green," a central point for discussion and debate or simply staying informed about what's happening on the other side of campus.

     One of our friends, professor emeritus of Classics Elizabeth Will, recently summed up her feelings about the Chronicle:

    "I think I've never been associated with a university that is less unified in spirit. I was in the Faculty Senate and on the Graduate Council and several university committees, but I honestly never felt I was in the same institution as the scientists, engineers, etc., whom I sometimes met. At Penn State, a comparable institution, Texas, and Iowa, however, there was much more solidarity. For once each week, you made UMass, too, seem like a single institution."

     I cannot think of higher praise for what the Chronicle staff and I have done for the last 717 issues. It was an honor to serve you.

Daniel J. Fitzgibbons, editor

  UMass Logo © 2003 University of Massachusetts.
This page is maintained by the Division of Communications & Marketing.