Voting started yesterday (Friday). As you may have noticed, the system being used is the archaic and inflexible WebVote hosted on the UBC Student Services site, not the new AMSLink system purchased by the AMS this year, which is still not functioning. If you tried to vote, you may also have noticed that the VFM entrants are not yet on the ballot. The VFM administrator, Paul Gibson-Tigh to explains:

VFMs are not on the online ballot as of yet, because the deadline for entering the contest was today at 4pm. We didn’t want to disadvantage the last minute entrants (of which there were a few) so we couldn’t complete the list until the registration period had closed. I would call it a coordination error that I guess arose because the entry form was created before the election period was determined. People will still be able to vote in the contest, even if they have voted for candidates already, so I dont think there will be any problems. I’ll keep you and the other 10 entrants posted on whats coming up if this causes any problems.

So don’t worry – everyone will still be able to vote for their favorite VFMs. Still, this timing is highly unfortunate. Media cannot themselves be publicized and marketed to a campus of 50 000 people in a timespan of days. In turn, I doubt VFM will succeed in fuelling increased voter turnout this year. We’ve learned that some last-minute entries has been submitted however. True to form though, the VFM website has yet to be updated. Another point to note is that the new voting system (Interpolated Consensus Voting) that AMS council introduced for the media contest this year can’t be administered on WebVote. The system is a little hard to understand, and I was planning a fabulous explanatory post, but don’t worry, you don’t need to know anything about it anymore. As Matthew Naylor amusingly noted last week (in a totally different context, but still) “democracy was narrowly averted”. Too bad.

Some other media notes:
The Ubyssey printed an extensive elections supplement yesterday, with profiles of all the candidates. This is great. They’ve barely published any analysis or real campaign coverage. This is sad. To summarize our official student newspaper’s coverage: 1. an article on joke candidate names; 2. an article on one specific joke candidate (the hydrant); 3. an “analysis”/opinion piece running one presidential candidate down.

This last piece is truly unfortunate. While it’s nice that the Ubyssey is trying to make it’s Friday magazine more dynamic by introducing articles that are not striclty news, but have some opinion mixed in, this patricular piece was NOT labeled as such. It’s a bit jarring to read a heavily angled and editorialized article you think is supposed to be news, and to suddenly encounter the first person “I”. Obviously, these shouldn’t take the place of actual serious reporting, which has been totally absent in the Ubyssey’s pages this campaign. The Ubyssey has formed a veritable gallery of photographers and news staff at every debate – so where’s the coverage? Given the mismanagement of the VFM contest, most voters that have read anything at all will probably be going to the polls on the basis of the Ubyssey’s inadequate and downright skewed coverage.


16 Comments so far

  1. Anonymous on January 20, 2008 1:43 am

    I’m quite confused myself Maayan. I see the Ubyssey at every debate, but for some reason that doesn’t tranlate into written articles.

  2. Anonymous on January 20, 2008 2:10 am

    perhasp b/c the Ubyssey knows that making a stance would swing the campaing in someones favor?

  3. Mark Latham on January 20, 2008 2:12 am

    The VFM Administrator emailed me the complete final list of VFM contestants yesterday, so I immediately posted it at and announced it in the VoterMedia blog.

  4. eatcake on January 20, 2008 4:28 am

    It’s totally ridiculous that vfms aren’t on the ballot yet. that hugely disadvantages the vfms especially the individual ones and benefits those big name entries who ironically are the majority of the ones that entered on friday.
    it’s just another example of how the vfm has to be managed better next year or i don’t see it coming back to campus

  5. Anonymous on January 20, 2008 5:52 am

    I actually think that a story about why the rest of the exec team isn’t supporting/endorsing their fellow exec, Matthew Naylor, is quite a good story.

    I don’t think it was mean or poorly written either… it was a good question – why aren’t they supporting him?

  6. Jesse Ferreras on January 20, 2008 6:52 am

    A lot of criticism has been unfairly leveled at the Ubyssey in this post. Two out of three complaints about the paper have concerned me. Allow me to make clear that there is never a problem with calling me out on my transgressions.

    Anonymous at 5:43pm is correct in stating that I have attended many a debate, but I have not been doing coverage exclusively for the Ubyssey. Much of it has been for my own blog, which you can find (and I’m risking deletion here) at Please note I am not a VFM contest entrant.

    As pertains my story in the Ubyssey, the paper is currently undergoing a transition that will see its Friday issues take on a magazine-like format, with editorializing and analysis incorporated into stories rather than strict reportage. I was asked to do that by the news editors, so I did.

    In terms of labelling it “opinion,” I doubt that UBC students are so stupid that they wouldn’t notice opinion if they saw it. All they would have to do is read the story (which I sincerely appreciate.) It’s hardly cause for feeling “jarred.”

  7. rodrigo ferrari nunes on January 20, 2008 10:18 am

    What is telling about the Ubyssey is that although it is a bit critical of Duncan and very critical of Naylor, it chooses to somehow ignore I am running – confirming to the status quo, and following some kind of executive order. Perhaps they are just having to stick by their friends.

    And for them, people who have been around longer are instantenously more credible, no matter how many screw ups they have excused themselves for, so far… hacks are worth more than othr students in the AMS, and that’s a fact! Read the minutes for yourself (I know it’s too much to ask: minutes are very ineffective, no matter how much Duncan prefers them to video or broadcasting, which makes unable to function – just see minutes posted on my blog). Talk about paranoia and fear of transparency!

    To be critical of Naylor, I agree, is quite easy, but to deal with the information posted on my blog seems too much of a stretch, or to mention me as a candidate, so it is easier just to mention ‘jokes’ and the candidates they believe have the greater chance. I wonder if that does not represent some kind of violation to my rights as student, just as Jeff Friedrich’s electoral campaign page post quoting Mike Duncan was kept up until the last minute before elections started (that is, after the candidates were made known).

    Sounds like a concerted effort to remain in power and to curtail students’ choices through eneven propaganda. It may be even be legal, but it is sketchy nevertheless, and trully dishonest.

    I wish your hopes of seeing the disengaged and irresponsible, and unsensitive exec spend another year laughing around, and playing computer games, and shopping on the Internet turns out good results – a real treat for the press (urged to come and experience the AMS council).

    Mike’s ‘free-gym’ idea is as original as ‘free-tuition’ or ‘free beer’ and impossible to implement as Naylor’s string of excuses, stolen discourse, and excuses.

    That shows that while I worried about pressing issues such as childcare that is not available to students by talking directly with Student Parents On Campus members , Mike was worrying about getting free-gym. What a wonderful priority! [Suggestion: run down to the beach for an hour, come back and pull weights at the Acquatic Centre – that should be free enough].

    And of course, as Mike has determined, the ‘student body’ prefers to have a free gym than a childcare-educational facility (yes, and that brings revenue through tuition charged from non-UBC parents who wish to enter the waiting list – this so we invert the horrendous situation that we face, which is the contrary (student parents waiting in lines that can take up to 3 years).

    I wish the exec well (and very good luck) in its irresponsible endorsements for AMS President – don’t forget that we will be there working together with students anyway, and voicing our concerns, and critiques (or endorsements when reasonable) of actions proposed by the exec and the AMS council.

    Perhaps it is too late to fix such a systemic and historical problem.


  8. eatcake on January 20, 2008 11:21 am

    this is obviously just addressing one part of your long winded and once again whiney post, but how do you figure wanting to implement free exercise facilities is at the same level as free beer or free tuition. Maybe it’s because you’re an international student, and haven’t gotten out much- but that is actually a service provided by about 95 percent of post secondary schools in Canada. It’s something that we should be given at a world class school like ubc.

    also- seriously, do you ever get tired of hearing yourself talk?
    eat a cake or something.
    -eat cake

  9. maayan kreitzman on January 20, 2008 7:36 pm

    Great post on Jesse’s blog about the continued fiasco of VFM.

  10. rodrigo on January 20, 2008 10:01 pm


    Don’t you know you can use the Aquatic Centre’s Gym for free?

    My suspicion is that you are unable to actually deal with some of my points without campaigning for your friend, so you prefer to defend whatever shallow proposals he makes.

    Why is the word ‘transparent’ in the official AMS values, if it does not translate into practice?

  11. Anonymous on January 21, 2008 1:42 am

    friday’s ubyssey article was fine. the author had a topic he thought was interesting and i’m sure he talked about it to people and he wrote it down on paper. talking to people is allowed, but printing it on paper isn’t?

  12. maayan kreitzman on January 21, 2008 2:19 am

    There was nothing wrong with the article itself. the thing that’s wrong is the fact that the Ubyssey printed it as the sole piece of elections reporting.

  13. Jesse Ferreras on January 21, 2008 5:06 am

    If you had examined Monday’s edition of the Ubyssey you would have noticed that we published both my story about the Fire Hydrant, the one about the joke candidates, as well as provided a rundown of candidates on page two. Then on Friday the Naylor story ran on the back page.

    I also hope you got a chance to open the Friday paper and notice the “AMS Elections Supplement” in which every candidate had a picture and a chance to answer various questions about their platforms. You know, it’s this little thing the Ubyssey does every year. More than a “sole piece of elections reporting,” I’d like to think.

  14. maayan kreitzman on January 21, 2008 9:01 am

    “reporting,” not information. Both are good. One is lacking. This isn’t levelling a personal attack at you Jesse. I think it’s irresponsible that the Ubyssey has so many apparent resources at all the campaign events, and so little written material (actually written by ubyssey staff!) to show for it.

  15. Spencer on January 21, 2008 7:46 pm

    If one wants information, one will read an encyclopedia. Newspapers have the honour and privilege of not only informing the public, but doing so on a personal level with articles written by human beings. It is these human beings that form the basis of an interesting read, biased or not, and though they may not write in an entirely informative method, there is nothing written by people that is not informative to the adept reader.

  16. Anonymous on January 25, 2008 4:33 pm

    Jesse –

    The annual AMS Elections Supplement is a term of the Ubyssey’s lease for its space in the SUB. It’s not exactly done out of the goodness of your hearts ;)

    – Spencer

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