Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Morning Conversation

My "morning conversation" with Jennifer Fuller is up on their webpage, though I haven't had the guts to listen to it yet.  This post can serve as a forum for comments.  Given that I've critiqued what Poshard and Cheng have said on the radio, it's only fair to leave a place for others to critique me (though I'll probably feverishly respond to critiques in the comments, as has been my wont).


  1. Dave, I listened to the last 10 minutes this morning and have just finished the WSIU podcast. Yes, the facts you presented were cogent and your final statement was direct and to the point. Unfortunately, most of your delivery needed a great deal of improvement. Pauses, ums, ahs, hesitations, rephrasing, etc, did not help the direct presentation that was needed for such an important interview. While Poshard performs the role of agonized and misunderstood public servant and Cheng does her "Everything's coming up Roses" routine, there is a great need for the Union to find a spokesman who can speak in a much more direct and polished manner. The problem in this area involves the "battle of ideas" and you were fortunate in not having one of Rupert Murdoch's blond Valkyries from Fox News shredding you within a few seconds. Far from presenting a bleak scenario derived from that Robert Redford film THE CANDIDATE, I'd suggest that the Faculty Union work on this problem since the hesitations in the delivery would work to undermine the message in this very media-orientated society and we must recognize the problem. Good, effective, and direct public speaking is really necessary for future broadcasts. Your intentions and message was good but the delivery left much to be desired.

  2. Dave was all natural, while Cheng and Poshard come off as artificially-flavored and laced with preservatives. I prefer Dave!

  3. I respectfully disagree with Tony on most of his comments. I think Dave did a wonderful job considering he responded to questions without prior preparation. Cheng and Poshard had scripted questions and answers written by their so called “experts”; even then they messed up. Dave, hats off to you for all the work you on our behalf.

  4. Dave, I have to say that you deserve the above praise. It is really genuine and sincere.

  5. Dave,

    From all of the anonymous comments, you know that you have way more nerve than many of us. You break out of the shadows of anonymity or pseudonymity and speak publicly. Thank you!

    In the spirit of Ryan Netzley's Public Grading, I offer this critique.

    You effectively reframed the question about money as a question about priorities.

    You provided evidence to support your claims.

    You answered the questions that were asked and sounded like a reasonable person.

    You did not bring up new topics of conversation that you wanted to discuss. The topics of conversation were left in the interviewer's hands. Because the interviewer's questions focused on money and bargaining, you had little time left to talk about tenure or non-financial concerns.

    There was hesitation in your delivery, especially early in the conversation.

    Additional comments:
    One strategy for media contact is to have your message ready before the interview and to do everything you reasonably can to convey that message. Did you have three points that you wanted to convey? If so, you can self-grade by comparing your message with the message I received as a listener.
    1) The university is not doing that badly financially.
    2) The Faculty Association wants money to be directed toward academics ahead of athletics.
    3) The Faculty Association is eager for the bargaining to be over.

    Grade (on a curve):
    If this was your first radio interview, it was a very good performance. A-
    If you have done radio interviews before, you should be more at ease with the process. B

  6. Thanks for the comments. It was indeed my first radio interview. I think an A- is the best I could honestly give myself.

    Tony is right that my delivery was often halting: I almost laughed myself after my multiple hiccups before uttering the s- word. Paranoid is right that I could have better taken control over the interview's topics; I could have introduced other topics, certainly (say to vary the obsession with athletics). I wanted to sound reasonable--and, come to think of it, would have difficulty sounding otherwise, unless playing some artificial role--so did honestly engage with the questions I was asked rather than quickly turning them aside to repeat some set of talking points. My guess is that some hiccups in answers, and a certain willingness to answer questions, will play reasonably well with faculty. But one needs to get one's own message out.

    Paranoid suggests a fine grading scheme. I went in with two main points:

    the problem isn't that we don't have enough money, but that we're spending it on the wrong priorities;

    what we need is a real debate, including across the bargaining table, about campus priorities (to replace the administration's attempt to limit the debate to "furloughs or layoffs").

    The first two points paranoid came away with were more in the way of supporting arguments. The second is too specific (I should have said a bit more about other misplaced priorities, though athletics is such a juicy target). The third comes off a bit lamely here. I was trying to sympathize with members of the audience (and campus) sick of all this debate (to defuse the "plague on both your houses" reaction), while also conveying some sense of urgency, but I may have come off more weary than resolved. "Reasonable but resolute" was my hoped for tone.

  7. Laura Dreuth ZemanAugust 10, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    I was thrilled with Dave and his genuine presentation of the issues. Thank you, Dave for speaking out.
    Laura Dreuth Zeman
    Professor, Social Work and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
    Secretary, Faculty Association

  8. I too was thrilled with Dave's interview efforts. And offer my gratitude and thanks. And Dave, I thought you channeled "The Doctor" i.e. Dr. Lewis Zimmerman brilliantly. ;-)

  9. Thank you, Grrrhonda, for helping me feel less alone. I've been afraid that it would reveal my identity if I admitted that I have a hard time looking at Dave when I see him in person because my mind starts drifting to Voyager.

  10. And the chancellor responds in monologue about a third of the way through the latest morning conversation: http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wsiu/local-wsiu-982666.mp3

  11. Dave,

    Enjoy analyzing her argument about state mandates keeping capital and operating money separate just minutes after explaining that Saluki Way wasn't funded by state money.

  12. "The decrease in state funding is greater than the Truth in Tuition impacts, so overall budget has gone down."



I will review and post comments as quickly as I can. Comments that are substantive and not vicious will be posted promptly, including critical ones. "Substantive" here means that your comment needs to be more than a simple expression of approval or disapproval. "Vicious" refers to personal attacks, vile rhetoric, and anything else I end up deeming too nasty to post.