Emerson achievement opinion piece was inaccurate

by Beacon Staff • October 18, 2006

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Marissa Sertich's piece in last week's Berkeley Beacon, "Looking Beyond the Fonz." While I applaud the author's call for Emersonians to look at all the many alumni who are doing interesting things in their respective fields, I wanted to clarify some issues the comments raised.,Dear Editor,

I read with interest Marissa Sertich's piece in last week's Berkeley Beacon, "Looking Beyond the Fonz." While I applaud the author's call for Emersonians to look at all the many alumni who are doing interesting things in their respective fields, I wanted to clarify some issues the comments raised.

I feel the article is misinformed and that the author basically cherry-picked information solely from certain Emerson Web pages, including conducting an archive search in "Emersonians in the News."

As a writer for "Emersonians in the News," Emerson College Today, and the alumni magazine, Expression, I and the whole staff in the Office of Public Affairs make it a point to profile all kinds of alumni.

A quick look through their pages will show that we've written about alumni in a multitude of professions and disciplines.

The most recent edition of the "Emersonians in the News" Web page, in fact, includes information on a speech pathologist, a marine sergeant, a publisher, a sports executive, a radio announcer and a managing director of a theatre, as well as current students and faculty.

Secondly, the suggestion that Emerson alumni receive notice only if they possess "glitz and glamour" and are in the arts and entertainment field rings patently false.

Of course, many graduates pursue these fields, so it makes perfect sense that they would also receive notice. However, we don't focus on "glitz and glamour." We focus on achievement and success via innovation and creativity. Again, please feel free to flip through the pages of our many publications and surf "Emersonians in the News."

When writing a politics-related story, we actively seek out all political parties (see our story on state elected officials in the fall 2004 issue of Expression for one example). Also, the claim that no Republicans have been represented on the "Emersonians in the News" page is misleading. The lack of the word "Republican" certainly does not prove a bias. On the contrary, you'll find the word "Democrat" when referring to a political candidate only twice in more than four years of entries.

In the Oct. 2004 edition of "Emersonians in the News," I included a piece on John Hanlon, the Emersonian who is running Repulican Candidate Russell Evans's campaign. So you can see how a search for a single word does not reflect the scope of our efforts.

Our interest is in applauding alumni achievement, not party affiliation. If we had had knowledge of Republican candidates who had won elections, we would have covered them as well.

-Christopher Hennessy Publicist and Staff Writer

Emerson Today