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MidAnthro announces scholarship program for furries

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (13 votes)

The Mid-Atlantic Anthropomorphic Association, organizers of annual Maryland events such as Fur the 'More and Fur-b-Que, have launched a $1000 educational scholarship in memory of former staffer Cobalt The Fox, who passed away in October 2017. Their press release follows.

Mid-Atlantic Anthropomorphic Association The Mid-Atlantic Anthropomorphic Association, Inc. (“MidAnthro”) is pleased to announce a new program which directly contributes to the furry community.

For MidAnthro staff, volunteers, and executives, the furry fandom has been a welcoming, warm, and supportive home. Whether each of us has been here for a few weeks or for decades, we’ve gained lifelong friendships, learned valuable lessons, and experienced the positive power of a diverse, creative community.

MidAnthro's mission is to promote charitable giving, social responsibility, and education in creative disciplines via community-driven events. We have a vested interest in making this mission a reality for our fellow fandom denizens. In the words of our flagship program event, Fur the More, we want to “Go Further and Do More”.

David Gonce, better known as Cobalt to his friends, was an inquisitive, charitable, and supportive member of the furry community. Not only was Cobalt a staff member for MidAnthro events, but they were also a volunteer for the Community Fire Company of Perryville. Cobalt, despite his positivity, abruptly left us on October 7, 2017. His presence, positivity, and friendship have been missed by everyone in the organization since then.

In furtherance of our goals as a non-profit organization, to help the community we so love, enjoy, and embrace with open arms, and to honor someone from that community who we unexpectedly lost two years ago, we are launching the David “Cobalt the Fox” Gonce Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship program is our way of commemorating Cobalt’s charity, kindness, and inquisitive nature.

The scholarship is open to anyone in the furry community pursuing an educational program at an accredited technical school, college, university, or training program and is valued at $1000 for one recipient for the current year.

For more details on the scholarship program, requirements, and the application process as it continues to develop, please visit https://midanthro.org

Mid-Atlantic Anthropomorphic Association, Inc is a Virginia 501c3 charitable organization. IRS ID# 82-1071057.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

I'm honored that anthro organizations are making profiles to do press releases such as this for Flayrah.

Thank you guys for putting aside money to offer for the pursuit of education, and taking the time to place this information here.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

I've got more mixed feelings about it. I agree that its great that the information is being shared here but I think it would be more appropriate for a staff member (as loosely as the term is used) to write up the article. The worry being that it becomes less of a news/review/opinion site and just a mouthpiece for various organisations, whether we are in agreement with them or not. While in the furry fandom that is still a minor issue, we have seen it become a bigger problem in more mainstream venues with many complaints about corporate advertising being inserted into spaces which are for friends and family or sponsored content and native advertising masquerading as real articles.

I would consider something like this scholarship almost completely benign but the same might not be true of an article about a new, paid furry dating site written by the site's creators or an article about how cool robotic tails are by someone with a financial stake in it. While I know Flayrah does clarify conflict of interest those notices can be easy to miss and I think it is better that we think about how Flayrah should approach native advertising/sponsored content before it becomes an issue.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

You said it better than me, although I'd add the caveat that so far it seems the way people can submit and we can edit works out. If we accept citizen journalism then it makes some sense to permit corporate "people" to contribute as well, so we get their perspective. It could be done by a staff member (and this would be preferred on WikiFur), but it risks creating confusion about who they're speaking for. In such cases the comments can be key - as well as the publication of any contrary viewpoints.

Balanced against the risk of journalistic capture is the likelihood that we will not see certain interesting news stories if we don't accept edited releases. I probably wouldn't've noticed this news myself unless updating WikiFur's convention map or event list at the right time.

We get requests for paid articles all the time but they're nothing to do with the fandom, so I don't dignify most with a response. Conversely if someone wanted to say something relevant, they have a good chance of getting it posted if they write a good article and post it; there are one or two we missed over the years, sorry about that. Of course, it's up to up whether we edit it - or allow it, especially if its license means it isn't editable.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

We certainly could have any of a number of staffers come and submit it, but we thought it was more appropriate as a "press release" to submit it from the organization as no flayrah contributor reached out to us, but rather we reached out to them. The assumption submitting it was that either a) it would be published as is (or add to/edit before accepting as is the case here) or b) a contributor would reach out to discuss/interview/write about it, or c) that it would be rejected.

If it would be better in the future, We can certainly ask the volunteers on our social media team to submit them instead of an org account.

Either way, the goal is to get the news out. I did not mean to create an issue with it.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

It's not your fault or anything and nothing was done incorrectly. It's just a good idea that we should think about how the site approaches this sort of thing in terms of maintaining its own independent perspective. For example, if you read a nice article about Microsoft or something and then find out that it was written by Microsoft's PR team, that colours how you approach the article and blurs the distinction between reporting/opinion and advertising. Although, as GreenReaper points out, anyone is free to submit to Flayrah and there's nothing to stop people writing in their personal capacity about projects they are involved in. I have done it myself on occasion too. And that's possible in more mainstream publications as well.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

No worries, Kit. I believe that the correct thing was done here.

If a press release is to be made it should have the following distinguishing marks:

A) It is made with a user name that signifies the person is tied with the organization. Which your organization has done here, instead of posting it under your pseudonym. That is preferable in these cases.

B) It should emphasis at the start of the article prior to any information.

This did both of those things.

It must be noted as well that editors typically look over these before publishing. I didn't look at this one particular, so it was either Dronon or GreenReaper that had published it after editing. If they had updated that item in italics at the beginning, that's what I would have done as well.

If such obvious disclaimers are not good enough to know where a message is coming from, then I think the problem is with the reader's literacy and not the organization or Flayrah since the transparency is right there.

It may be in Flayrah's best interest to standardize a disclaimer so that the message about it being from an independent furry organization is consistent. Iwould disagree with Growlithe's fears, particularly comparing a non-profit organization in the same light as a for-profit one (Microsoft) when it comes to press releases.

Obviously if Flayrah was getting cutbacks from 'subversive advertising' propagating as news that would plainly be an problem, and that wouldn't happen under my watch. It's another to have an organization offering an opportunity to the community, whether it is to talk about a convention opening in a local area, or a scholarship.

In the vein of the 'new convention' example, the Multiverse Convention article a few weeks back was also a "press release", and I ended up denoting it as such. That one I did edit and had to search out that the person who had written was on their staff and so I felt I had to place a disclaimer about it. Funnily, I had to change a part where they put a quote by themselves in the third-person and I updated it to be in first person after realizing the author was making the statement.

If we don't hear from you, good luck with the moving of venue for Fur'the More.

Your rating: None

Thanks for the Feedback, I appreciate it.

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

When I worked at an actual newspaper, the press liaison at the local hospital hated us because we'd always rewrite her at the Times while the Leader just did the press release.

However, I can't really fault them for that because they were a daily and we printed just three times a week and the press releases were clearly marked as such (as they are here). We had time to write out own stories; they needed to fill up space, to be perfectly honest. That's the ethical compromise; perfect world, yeah, everything would be done by reporters, but realistically, small staff of a small newspaper (or Internet magazine equivalent, I suppose), I mean, it's not feasible (and I honestly don't know if there's a hell of a lot of difference between a company/group/whatever asking for a story to be written versus writing their own; I mean, just pure politeness is going to weigh on a reporter's ability to be objective). USA Today runs front page press releases, screw them. They can afford to do the story.

Basically, this is Journalistic Ethics 101; there's literally been nearly two centuries of people already thinking how we should approach this for us, and we've taken the already proscribed and approved method.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

It's lovely that the furry community strives to do things the honorable way. I would simply note here that, in case you didn't know, mundane news stations operate like this all the time. Much of what you see in print, online, on the TV, or hear on the radio began as a news release written by corporate bean counters. That's sadly the way it is and why American news, especially, is pathetic.

So (ahem) anyway! It would be a great idea of furry news sites didn't do this. I say this having just written a short story about The Good Furry Award, which I run. The form says that the story will be reviewed, which is fine, but it seems live already. Like the scholarship, the award does not profit me in any way, so I hope this is not a problem for anyone at Flayrah or Flayrah's readers.

Cheers!

Your rating: None

The story when written appears on the profile of the writer and is accessible to them for additional edits.

When you submit it, it goes over to a side-bar window on the main page that can only be seen by the editors.

The editors can then go in and make the edits needed, the timing of the release can vary.

If it's a timely thing, obviously we'd want to get it posted before the event in question. Otherwise we'd probably time it so that there is good distance in releases (recently there isn't too much of a backlog). Or we'd wait until it corresponds with a good timing that would be useful.

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

That's kind of cool. I don't think anyone has ever done anything like that.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

It's not the first time, but it's very rare: ArtSpots offered a $500 scholarship in 2008.

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Free education money if you are a furry??...

:|

Well, I'll be...

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There's probably a bit more to it than that, like writing an essay on what being furry means to you, or what you've done in the community. I sent an email asking about that but I haven't heard back yet. Maybe they're still figuring out the requirements.

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