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Photo by: Jarrod Riggins
Student-athletes and coaches voice their opinions on the repurposing of La Pirogue yearbook fee
March 30, 2017
Media on Nicholls State University’s campus plays a key role in the workings of its athletic programs. In response to the University’s decision to eliminate the $10 yearbook fee, student-athletes and coaches have reflected on how both printed and online media affect their teams in different ways.
Sophomore shortstop Amanda Gianelloni believes student media helps increase the number of fans who attend softball games.
“The support at our games means a lot to us and gets us more success,” Gianelloni said. “Student media is one of the things that drives that force to get people to our games to get us that support, so I think it is important in that way.”
Gianelloni said for other people, like herself, who are very involved on campus, having something tangible to physically flip through later on in life is something significant. She pointed out that as an athlete, it’s always nice to see her name in a newspaper, because it reinforces the fact she is making a difference on campus. She also sees a value in the production of the newspaper itself.
“It is not only nice for the people that are in the newspaper and the yearbook, but for the people who are writing it. They get a value and an appreciation for it too, so it goes both ways,” Gianelloni said. “It benefits the people in the paper and in the yearbook, but it benefits the students that are working hard to perfect their craft, too.”
Head Softball Coach Angel Santiago said that athletic programs across the country have been putting a heavier value on social media, like Twitter and Facebook, in place of hired media personnel. He believes when student athletes can work alongside the people who run a team’s social media accounts, they can help make a difference in how their program is seen.
“Social media makes a big difference to recruits and potential students who want to come to Nicholls. Even the success of the team is really opening eyes to people across the country,” Santiago said. “I think Amanda Gianelloni’s play at the LSU game is past 1,060 favorites [on Twitter] now. I think those are good little things that we have to keep building on.”
While social media has the ability to get players recognized nationwide, Santiago said when it comes to the memories of the university and the moments he wants his graduating seniors to remember, print media plays a special role.
“I think with all the print media over the past few years, when it comes down to the memories of the school and everything, we have enjoyed it,” Santiago said. “Personally, we have been giving the seniors a lot of paper media in a book just to show them letters and the little things that are in there. It’s just to put it on the coffee table. It’s so their kids can see it one day. It’s just so that they have something in hand.”
Santiago said he cherishes his own personal collection of books and memorabilia in his office that have been given to him over the years. When it comes to the future of La Pirogue, Santiago said he would back the student body on what they want.
“I’ll support whatever the students want,” Santiago said. “I think the school should support whatever direction the students want to go and that nobody should be led in any direction.”
Head Tennis Coach Greg Harkins believes that social media is what is most relevant to this generation, specifically when keeping up with sports and communication in general.
“I think it [social media] helps us connect with other sports too, so that we can build a bridge. I think that’s a good low-maintenance tool. A lot of the print media takes more time,” Harkins said. “Nowadays, it’s just how we communicate. If I want to reach out to the players in a text, they’ll respond very quickly. It seems like the millennial generation wants instant messages and to get straight to the point.”
Harkins said social media aids in the recruiting process, as well as promoting the tennis program. Without a marketing budget or a full staff, Harkins said being able to break things down into 140 characters has completely changed the way people communicate.
Offensive lineman and mass communications major Al Wilson said he sees value in both printed and online media when it comes to relaying information about the teams on campus.
“I think that changes can be made to find a balance for both forms. I think that we can still use traditional media combined with social media,” Wilson said. “I think it [media] really helps reach out to not only Nicholls teams, but also the people who may not have heard news or events from our teams.”
Wilson said this is the way technology is heading, but sophomore soccer player Kristyn Daniels said when it comes to the yearbook specifically, there is no way to create a digital product that will be the same.
“A yearbook is a classic thing to have. How are we going to make a yearbook digital? You can’t really do that,” Daniels said. “I don’t think everything has to stay paper, but I do believe that a yearbook can’t be changed. It’s a yearbook, and you can’t digitalize it.”
Kristyn’s older sister Kaylie, also a Colonel soccer player, graduated in the spring of 2016 and took all four of her editions of La Pirogue with her. Kristyn said she has a collection of yearbooks from kindergarten through her high school years, but now it won’t be complete.
Head Soccer Coach Michael McBride said that during his 15 seasons coaching at Notre Dame College, he noticed that the student-produced newspaper was always full of sports content because the college was top-heavy with student-athletes. Although Notre Dame College doesn’t publish as frequently anymore, McBride says student-media is unique to Nicholls’s campus.
“That spotlight [for athletes] is really beneficial and I think it would be a shame if we lost it. We get reporters who will pick up our information and regurgitate it in the local community, but when it’s student to student, I think it means a bit more and it’s more personal,” McBride said. “Because we’re a smaller campus, it’s a friendlier approach and means more.”