Chronically out of touch (the "well-off endowment fund manager" edition)

A few months ago, the Chronicle ran a story about how tough government has it in these rough economic times.

It was one of those stories for and of the newspaper's sources -- and of little use or interest to the poor guy trying to pay his mortgage, or find a new job, or pay for his kid's college, etc. The sorts of people who actually purchase the newspaper, in other words.

Yesterday, the Chronicle had another one of those stories for and of the newspaper's sources -- this time focusing on how tough these uncertain economic times have been on university endowments.

We hear from Scott Wise (identified by the Chron as "the president of Rice Management Co., the investment arm of Rice University"). We hear from Carl Carlucci (identified as UH's executive vice chancellor for administration and finance). We hear from Kevin Hegarty (identified as UT-Austin's vice president and chief financial officer). We hear from Bruce Zimmerman (identified as "chief executive of the University of Texas Investment Management Co., which manages investments for all UT system schools and for the Permanent University Fund"). And finally, we hear from Ken Rudd (identified as the director of research and policy analysis for The National Association of College and University Business Officers).

We don't hear from anyone who explains what exactly these tanking endowments mean in terms of potential cutbacks at universities (or, more likely, tuition and fee increases). We don't hear from the working mom wondering why the Chronicle is asking her to feel bad about tanking endowments when her kid's tuition has skyrocketed every year thanks to deregulation. We don't hear from the student who has had to attend the local community college this year, because the big university has gotten too expensive. In short, we don't hear from anyone who might make this story more human, and less about the higher-ups at big Texas universities.

Why did anyone at the Chronicle think this half-finished, dull story was front-page material?

Posted by Kevin Whited @ 10/07/09 09:07 PM | Print |

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