University President: I’m Leaving Part 2


Social media was maturing six years ago when our previous president was a finalist at another college. Before he made the three-hour trip back to Mansfield after his final interview, we all knew about it.
Unfamiliar with social media, he was shocked that his private matter was very public.
When our current president, Maravene Loeschke was a finalist at a college in the south, a reporter called me at 4 p.m. to ask some questions. Her interview was being blogged in real time.
There are very few secrets anymore. And lag time has shrunk from maybe a week to a few minutes.  If you vocalize a thought, the world hears it.
That a few people at Towson and Mansfield University were able to keep President Loeschke’s candidacy a secret is admirable.  The synchronization of a   joint announcement was professional and swift.
Four local reporters asked to interview Loeschke about her time here, and then it was over.
There was a time when there were a lot of reporters. No more. The few left are  happy to use the official announcement.  Then they’re on to the next story.
A president leaves, a president is named.
Next story please.
I love Maravene Loeschke. A former actress and acting prof,  she’s  great in front of a camera, in the TV studio, excellent at improvising.  But she is a president and they come in and move on.
I and my assistant were dealing with other matters as well: an anonymous accusation that the dorms being constructed; an annual festival that is  important to the university and community; other things that are important to admissions, retention, public relations and community relations.

Within eight hours, the president story was shoved downward by other news.

Today, stories are local and universal.  Sometimes both.  There is very little in between.

But they do have one thing in common:  they flare fast, burn hot and cool quickly.

In the wired age, life goes on, just a lot faster.

***

Language peeve:  The only outlet that got Steve Jobs’ death correct was Apple, saying “Steve Jobs has died.”  Why do we persist in saying “Joe Blow dies?”  The process of dying may be long or brief, but when act is over, it’s past tense,  and so are you.  The language should reflect that.

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