A Tale of Two Stories
by Buck Quigley - posted 4:14 pm, March 17, 2011
“State Senate GOP Leader calls UB 2020 a top priority,” reads a current headline in today’s Buffalo News.
If you had clicked the same link yesterday afternoon, the headline would have read: “Legislation permitting UB to hike tuition dying.”
Click here to read the saved version.
The original version of the story has disappeared from the News’ website. In fact, if you cut and paste “Legislation permitting UB to hike tuition dying” into Google, you’ll see that it used to be there, but when you click on the link, it takes you to the current story—which is very different, indeed.
The first story starts like this:
Legislation that permits the University at Buffalo to hike tuition and enjoy more financial autonomy is dead, leaders of a Senate and Assembly budget panel strongly suggested this morning.
It is certainly the feeling of the majority in my house that this is not the appropriate method for dealing with the issues that concern SUNY,” Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat, said of a UB-only bill that recently passed the Senate.
“It is a system, and it has been our position for the last couple of years that isolating one campus is not salutary for the future of SUNY, or for public higher education,” she said.
A Senate Republican from Long Island offered a similar view this morning by the heads of a joint conference committee on higher education fiscal issues
“I think that we’ve got to approach this budget in a way that takes care, (that) understands we have a system, and that we have components in that system, and I think we have a responsibility to address the needs of all the children in the SUNY system,” Sen. Kenneth LaValle said.
That story has been replaced with one that begins:
The Senate’s top Republican said a plan to give the University at Buffalo, and perhaps three other state university centers, more fiscal autonomy will be a top priority in his talks with the Democratic governor and Assembly leader in the coming weeks.
“We’re committed to it,” Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said of the stalled UB 2020 plan that calls for new public-private partnerships, a tuition hike and more revenues to help the campus with its ambitious downtown development plans.
Skelos made the comments in an interview just hours after the heads of the Assembly and Senate higher education committees strongly suggested the UB 2020 effort is dead and won’t be part of the 2011 budget talks.
The quote that used to start the story, from Assemblymember Glick, is now buried in the eighth paragraph, for example.
I called over to the Buffalo News newsroom to ask about the 180 degree change in the story. Would a change like that have been an editorial decision?
I even wondered out loud if the new, pro-UB 2020 spin could have anything to do with the fact that Buffalo News publisher Stanford Lipsey has been intimately involved with various UB Foundations at least as far back as 1988, when he was listed as an initial director of UB Foundation Services, Inc., on that group’s incorporation filing receipt.
In 1990, Lipsey appears on the incorporation filing receipt of another affiliate organization called UB Foundation Activities, Inc., again as an initial director. He’s listed right there with Jeremy M. Jacobs, who also was named as an initial director of both groups, and serves as the current chair of the UB Council.
Jacobs is also in the news today, for running the secretive process that produced Satish Tripathi as the new president of the university.
“Boy, you’re seeing plots that don’t exist,” a member of the BN newsroom told me. “We don’t operate that way. We’re more of a grab and go situation.”
“I mean, that’s what people were saying in the morning (yesterday). We posted that story. As the day went on, Tom (Precious) talked to more people. I’m not sure what survived. The story was severely trimmed for space,” my source continued, “but he (Precious) had interviews in the afternoon, you know, it was not—Word didn’t come down from on high to change the story. I mean, it’s not remotely that. It’s, you know, he’s writing as fast as he can. He learns something. He posts it, and he writes for print and that becomes the next-day’s story. That’s it.”
Alright already. Sorry I asked.
But if the News doesn’t want the original version out there anymore, then someone should tell them to call Challenger Community News and ask them to take the old link off their website and replace it with the new, official story. As of 4:00pm today, they were still posting the original Buffalo News story here.