February 2004 (v6 i4)
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Some guy runs for 'Travesty' editor
TSP board certifies candidate despite lack of experience
by Todd Nienkerk, Editor-in-Chief

Ryan Fullerton's editor application.
CAMPUS — The sweaty, feverish debate over editor candidacy reached a gratifying climax last Thursday when the Texas Student Publications board voted 6-to-5 to certify Ryan Fullerton, just some guy, as a candidate for editor of the Texas Travesty, the University's student humor publication. Two highly qualified and well-respected Travesty staff members were also certified.

"I just thought it would be cool to edit a paper," said Fullerton, who has never written or worked for a campus publication. "I've read [the Travesty] a couple of times, and I thought it was pretty good - except for all the sex jokes, which are just offensive and juvenile."

Since applying for certification in January, Fullerton has received criticism regarding his profound lack of experience and inability to perform under pressure, which some say will leave the Travesty dry and its readers bored and unsatisfied.

"I don't think that [Fullerton] understands how things work around here," said Associate Editor Ryan Martinez. "When I first started writing for the Travesty, I was scared. I had never really written humor before, and I needed somebody strong to show me how to do it right. But after years of practice, I can shoot out some really great stuff in ten or twenty minutes."

"Writing humor has nothing to do with innate ability - it's not something you're born with," explained Managing Editor Kristin Hillery. "A lot of people think that size matters. The truth is, if your article is too big, nobody will want to look at it. Besides, big articles aren't very creative or exciting - they rely entirely on length. Most of the time, they don't even fit [on the page]."

Fullerton applied for editor once before, in 2001, and claims that staff members intentionally prevented him from fulfilling TSP's staff-experience requirement for editor candidates: at least two semesters of service in at least two aspects of the paper.

"They totally blue-balled me," said Fullerton. "Or is it 'blackballed'? I meant 'blackballed.' The point is that I don't want to be on the bottom. I like it on top - I like to dominate."

"Everyone starts off on the bottom," explained Associate Editor Elizabeth Barksdale, "because that way, when you move to the top, it's just that much better. It feels good to be in charge, because you're getting it how you want it."

Some worry that sidestepping the Travesty's merit-based promotional structure would result in a crippling legitimacy gap.

"Most editors command respect through experience," added Martinez, "Fullerton, however, would have a hard time successfully handling his staff due to impotent leadership.

Despite constant criticism, Fullerton's toughest challenge is still to come. "Because the editor is a democratically elected position, Mr. Fullerton will have to prove himself to the students," explained TSP board member Ellen Gau. "This poses an enticing question: does he have what it takes to satisfy all of the UT's eager students?" Fullerton remains optimistic: "The Travesty is in need of some new leadership. It needs somebody with drive and flexibility - somebody untainted by years of hard work, dedication and skill."

When asked how Fullerton will achieve the tremendous task of pleasing the University's 51,000-plus students, he replied: "It's going to be a long, hard campaign, but I'm not going to pull out. I'm in this thing until it's finished, and I'll do whatever it takes to get ahead."
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