Posts Tagged ‘Donald Mariutto’

Weekend update

August 1, 2010

A second of the three finalists for assistant student media director has withdrawn his application.

The search committee chair, Dean of Student Corey King, informed the committee by e-mail on Friday:

“I wanted to update you on the search. Two candidates have taken jobs since their campus interviews, Annie Hammock and Donald Mariutto.  As a result, they have withdrawn from the pool.  Thus, Michael Douglas is the remaining candidate (who received a campus interview).  I am in the process of confirming a search committee meeting for next week to discuss next steps.  Please send any evaluation forms on the remaining candidate as soon as possible.”

Later, King announced that the next meeting had been scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, at 2 p.m. He didn’t mention or even hint at what’s on the agenda, but it seems the committee must debate two topics:

  1. Whether Douglas is a viable candidate
  2. Whether to re-open the position

If you’re interested in the fate of Douglas or student media at FAU, the meeting, as always per Florida statutes, is open to the public. It will be held in the Dean of Students Conference Room, located on FAU’s Boca campus (on the second floor of Building 8).

‘Kiss of death’? (part 2)

July 30, 2010

Koretzky got the “what” right: Annie Hammock won’t be hired by FAU.

He was wrong about the “why,” though: It wasn’t my endorsement of her that did her in.

Following her Tuesday visit to the Boca campus, the finalist for FAU’s new assistant student media director position withdrew her application of her own accord.

She’d just received an offer from Ball State University in Indiana, she told me yesterday in an e-mail titled “A personal apology.”

“I had to give it a lot of thought,” she wrote, “because I think student media at FAU is right on the cusp of becoming something special and it would have been a joy to be part of that, despite the challenges.”

My heart sank, but I understood and agreed with Hammock’s decision. I probably would have done the same if I were her (though as Hoosier, I admit I’m biased).

“I’m very sorry to hear you decided to withdraw, but I completely understand,” I replied. “I could tell you saw the potential of FAU’s student media and had a vision for it, along with a lot to offer students. But at the same time, Ball State is a much better gig, and you’ll be more appreciated there, and therefore probably be able to help students and student media more there.”

'Kiss of death'?

Ex-candidate Annie Hammock listens to Peter Smeryage of Owl TV during her July 27 meeting with the search committee. Photo: Gideon Grudo

The next step

As for student media at FAU, we have two options. As a member of the search committee charged with finding FAU’s first-ever assistant student media director with only $40,000/year, I understand them to be:

  1. Hire one of the other two finalists, Don Mariutto and Michael Douglas
  2. Determine that the applicant pool contains no viable candidates and re-open the position, effectively starting the process all over again

I suspect FAU will go with option No. 1. After all, it’s been more than two months since Student Affairs fired all of the student media advisers on three days notice and without the prior consent, input, or even awareness of a single student. They’d unilaterally determined this move the best way to “move student media forward,” they explained.

The situation is an embarrassment for the entire university, so the administration is likely to pluck someone from the existing applicant pool regardless of his qualifications. To them, slapping the title of “adviser” on a warm body and welcoming him aboard means a lesser PR hit than prolonging student media’s complete lack of a not-interim adviser.

Of course, hiring Mariutto or Douglas could only move FAU’s student media relations forward. Both finalists are woefully under-qualified to advise the UP. So, as far as FAU’s journalistic student media outlet is concerned, the hiring of Mariutto or Douglas could only move student media forward … one step backward at a time.


UP NEXT: The final finalist talks the talk

‘Kiss of death’? (part 1)

July 29, 2010

Before Tuesday’s open forum started, I caught up with a couple UP staffers.

Koretzky listened in as I relayed my take on candidate Annie Hammock, who visited campus on Tuesday.

He then joked that the good impression Hammock made on me would be her “kiss of death,” implying that Students Affairs would discriminate against a candidate simply because Karla Bowsher endorsed her.

Flattered by the thought of having such influence on administrators’ actions, I chuckled. But at the same time, my gut couldn’t help but agree with Koretzky.

Here’s why:

  • Highlight: Where should I start?

Hammock’s highlights include several qualities I saw in neither of the other candidates. For example:

-   She demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of the greater role of media in society — especially of media in a free society — and how it ought to be applied to university-level student media outlets in order to maximize the marketability and viability of students in the industry as it will actually function when they attempt to enter it.

-   She demonstrated an impressive understanding of media ethics (and is one of only one or two candidates to even utter the word “ethics” in the four hours I spent with each during their on-campus interviews).

-   While every candidate made sure to read the UP before the campus interviews, she was the only one who bothered to visit Owl Radio’s website and actually listen to their station. She must’ve visited Owl TV’s website too, because she offered a great piece of constructive criticism to help prompt their viewers to watch more of their videos.

-   She has the greatest amount of experience with actual journalism — and was the sole candidate to volunteer the clips to prove that she has any journalism experience whatsoever.

-   While every candidate spoke of convergence, as any idiot applying should know to do, she was the only one who spoke of or even seemed to have a greater, long-term vision for student media at FAU.

-   She was the only candidate to address both sides of student media at FAU (i.e., student media and the administration that oversees it) without bias. For instance, when she met with the search committee, she looked across the table at me and made eye contact when she spoke of “adversarial relationships,” which made it clear to me that she knows that the fact that I’ve been in the right at times doesn’t means I’ve never been in the wrong. But she also turned to the committee chair, Dean of Students Corey King, when she spoke of the administration’s shortcomings. Come to think of it, she was the sole candidate to directly acknowledge the administration’s room for improvement in its dealings with student media, so she’s actually probably best equipped to help them improve and thereby spare the entire university future public embarrassment due to abuse and misunderstanding of the law or ethics.

-   She was the only candidate to volunteer anything about how her knowledge and experience could be applied to revenue generation.

-   She was the only candidate to utter words like “web metrics,” which demonstrates an extremely advanced understanding of how our student media outlets could harness the Internet to improve everything from content to readership to revenue.

-   She was the only candidate to do her research the first time and to do it right. Don Mariutto only did his after making a fool of himself for being the sole finalist who didn’t know a thing about student media at FAU going into his phone interview (like I said, he had to be told how many outlets he had). Michael Douglas, on the other hand, did just enough research to sound like he knew what he was talking about, which resulted in him making statements that could get FAU (back) into hot water.

'Kiss of death'?

Search committee members Tiffani Tyler of Owl Radio (right) and Cody Kalina, both students, listen as candidate Annie Hammock addresses the search committee at their July 27 meeting. Photo: Gideon Grudo

  • Lowlight: The highlights

Hammock’s strengths are her greatest weakness. Her depth of knowledge and experience, which easily surpasses that of the current Student Affairs administration, and her lack of bias toward the administration are liable to doom her future at Florida Autocratic University, sadly.

Like I said, the UP‘s former adviser is already convinced Hammock won’t get the job.

As for me, my gut figures he’s right, but my head and my journalistic heart aren’t giving up on her just yet. I’m not done looking into her biggest competition.


Click here to listen to Hammock’s hour-long meeting with the search committee on July 27. It officially starts at the 2:05 mark (everything before that is just small talk).


UP NEXT: For better or for worse, Hammock’s biggest competition makes the biggest splash.


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