by Franklin Bains
As I often clash with OC people in creating stories, I thought it’d be interesting to get a Commentator person’s approach to a student government story. Rockne Andrew Roll is a newer person to ASUO politics as a first-year grad student at the University after spending his undergrad years at Oregon State and thus had some interesting takes on reporting on the goings on of student government here and in general.
Q1. What is your common strategy for doing interviews with student government people?
Roll: when I approach Student government officials, I try to at least act like I’m trying to be their friend, even if I’m trying to uncover some unpleasant thing they may have done. More often than not, however, at least when I was at OSU, student government folks, or at least the ones I wanted to talk to, wouldn’t talk to me just because of my publication.
Q2. What’s the first thing on your mind while you work on piecing together a story when you have all your pieces?
Roll: The first thing on my mind is always why: why did so-and-so do such-and-such. As a primarily opinion journalist, I usually get to guess, but I’m generally expected to be able to back that up. So the why is more than just conjecture, its sort of like a puzzle. I’ll usually bounce my ideas off multiple people to make sure I’m not barking up the wrong tree/make sure there’s not potential information that I should have thought but didn’t.
Q3. What’s the most difficult thing you find about covering student government at Oregon?
Roll: Specifically at UO, its the procedural BS that comes with it. the ASUO is a frighteningly complicated bureaucratic structure, much more so than it was at my old haunt (OSU). Negotiating that, and the personalities involved, which are, I must say, much more dynamic than up north, is my biggest challenge in covering the ASUO.
Q4. What is a defining feature about ASUO that you feel differentiates it from other university student governments?
Roll: The ASUO is mainly different in terms of its size. It has a big budget, a big executive structure, a huge number of committies (ACFC, DFC, PFC, EMU Board, so on.), and it does so much. OSU Student government does not compare in terms of influence, scope of activity, and sheer size, both physically monetarily, and bureaucratically.
Q5. How did you get started at the Commentator?
Roll: I knew about the OC when I was back at OSU; they did what I wanted my old paper do, but better and funnier. When I came to OSU, apparently a number of people told Lyzi Diamond that I should be recruited, and I was. and thus, here I am.