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New Media Strategies Needed

The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to President Charles M. Vest.

I am a graduate student and a successful, non-drug-using, well-adjusted alumnus of an MIT ILG. I’m writing because I am angry at the media for grossly distorting the nature of every minor incident that occurs on campus. The Boston Globe’s characterization of MIT as a “campus out of control” should be the last straw.

As it is apparent that the unbiased truth about MIT life is not what the media is after, perhaps it is time that MIT took a more sophisticated approach to dealing with the media. Like a lot of my peers who have given up student activism in favor of stock options and technology careers I dislike politics, but this situation calls for some sophisticated political wrangling and media manipulation.

Perhaps a public-relations firm might be retained to turn the MIT News Office and the Campus Police into better spokespeople for our way of life. Clearly we need a talking head to churn out cheerful soundbites whenever some incident occurs. A suitably adept outside media manipulator with a good two-faced Janus approach would be best for this job. Perhaps he or she could hold the rank of Dean of Campus Affairs or something similarly important-sounding. Really he or she should be the Department Head of the School of Spin Control.

I am not suggesting that you waste your time performing this role, as I believe strongly that you are most valuable focusing on the science and research development side of our institution. I came to MIT to be educated through its strong research programs, not for any particular feature of its student life. I was happy with the status quo as far as R/O, alcohol policy, and the like were concerned, but I understand the need to adapt to changing needs. I am concerned that ignoring the media can only lead to ever-increasing levels of draconian MIT bureaucracy which is already creeping up on the lifestyle of the mainstream MIT student.

0.Matt Reynolds G