The Highlight(er) Reel
Like most MU students, I get all of my news from student newspapers. Not just this fine publication, but those other ones, too. You know, the one that thinks they're a lot better than they are, that one that thinks it's a magazine, and that other one that thinks they're not a student newspaper but they really are because only students write for them. This is a complex world in which we live, and it is important for me to get my national and world news in 50-word blurbs on the rail of page three.
One student newspaper (my editors have told me not to name this publication, so it will be referred to as the Cannibal in this column) ran a particularly useful article recently in their special weekend section. "Ahh,"I said as I sat down to read my weekend Cannibal, "I wonder what the special weekend edition of the Cannibal will offer me this weekend. Perhaps there will be hot tips about what will be going on in Columbia this weekend. Perhaps there will be a film or restaurant review." Not only did I find all of these things in the weekend Cannibal, I also found something which, for me, really went the extra mile. It was a Consumer Reports-esque review of the most useful student tool of them all. No, I'm not talking about the Personal Computer, nor am I talking about the pen or even the notebook. I am talking about the motherload of all importance in student life today: the highlighter.
You would think that a review of highlighters would be relegated to the back page of the MiniMo section in the Columbia Missourian, done by someone who was specializing in journalism for children or was maybe in danger of getting fired. But no. Not only did the Cannibal put the highlighters review on page three of their special weekend section, but they had four different individuals each reviewing a highlighter! Yes, four different individuals. Rather than have one individual compare and contrast four highlighters, the journalists at the Cannibal have taken the liberty of having four journalists try out one highlighter each without having to go through the hassle of comparing them to one another.
Some might call this excessive or silly, but before you go accusing newspapers and/or their journalists of excess or silliness, let's consider the real value of the article. Frankly, I believe the value of this review is immeasurable, and here's why: The Cannibal is a student newspaper. Most students use highlighters. And I know that when I go to purchase a highlighter, there are many factors to be considered before making a major investment that can cost upwards of one or even two dollars. There is, of course, the cost factor, but there are also brightness, bleed factor (will this highlighter bleed through my page?), and the question of how quickly the highlighter dries after being used.
Now, I'm not the kind of guy who just throws out a highlighter if I don't like it. What am I, made of money? That is like throwing literally dozens of cents away into the trash. No, sir. When I purchase a highlighter, I am in it for the long haul. And that's why the true value of the Cannibal's feature on highlighters, as I said before, truly cannot be measured.
Also appeared in September 26, 2002 edition of the MU Student News.