We are approaching the one-year time point since the demise of the Silver & Gold. I count exactly 14 letters to the editor during the entire existence of the Faculty and Staff Newsletter. Two of them (one is mine) discuss how few letters there are.
The demise of print journalism is lamentable on many counts, but its disappearance from our academic lives has been especially painful. At Tuesday's Anschutz Medical Campus Faculty Assembly, I made a motion (passed unanimously) that asked the administration to find funds within the budget this year to place automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in each university building on our campus. This topic has engendered considerable discussion in our meetings over the past year, yet I would predict that almost no one outside of those in attendance (about 10-15 faculty members at most) knows anything about this.
In the "good old days," one could count on press coverage of this kind of issue. The Silver & Gold would report on resolutions, the regents would read about it and, in general, there would be a system response. Instead, we find ourselves having to re-raise the issue with our administration or else it will seemingly drop off the radar. I believe we can say that the effort to have the Newsletter replace the Silver & Gold is an abject failure in terms of disseminating campus affairs to the faculty and staff, based on the responses in the letters section alone.
As a test, I invite any regent who happens to see this on his/her own (don't bother if another regent or administrator pointed it out to you, please) to contact me and I will gladly discuss the logic of having AEDs to protect the health and safety of faculty, staff and students. Maybe we could discuss the logic of a campus newspaper or at least an independent campus reporter to work on this problem.
This is not meant to be critical of the staff of the Newsletter or of the administration. Indeed, both have functioned admirably on a number of issues. Examples include the administration working very well with the faculty assembly in developing the case statement for a day care center on our campus and planning for a recreational/health center — both long-standing needs the faculty have been concerned about. My point is that without independent reporters and journalism of the kind the Silver & Gold brought to our academic campuses, we have lost one of the communication links that I view as vital to a healthy democratic environment. It remains possible that other journalists such as those from the Aurora Sentinel or Boulder's Daily Camera could attend more open campus meetings and fill this need in other ways — but we have not seen this yet.
L. Michael Glode, M.D., F.A.C.P.
University of Colorado Denver, CU Cancer Center