1990 NC State Basketball Controversy

Dwuan June discusses the period he served as editor of the Technician, 1989-1990, when the basketball controversy occurred at NC State that resulted in the firing of Jim Valvano. He talks about negative reaction by some students to the newspaper's coverage.

Interview on 2012-06-18


00:00:00.000 I started out as assistant news editor my freshman year and then that part I was just mainly the designer. We just basically designed how the front page looked.
00:00:12.146 Then ended up as the managing editor my junior year, and basically I dealt with the sports thing and then [21:12] that's when the beginning of the Personal Fouls [controversy],
00:00:26.730 Peter Golenbock's book, began to happen. It was kind of a weird situation for us because as sports editor and managing editor you're trying to balance the situation
00:00:36.408 where you have to go cover the basketball games but you also have to listen for all the stuff that's happened between Valvano and the administration while also reporting the basketball thing,
00:00:47.221 so you have to keep your sources and you have to also listen to what the coach is saying. That was a very tense situation. Then when I became editor it was a different process.
00:01:00.606 We decided, okay, we had to be tougher on the administration because what we felt like then my junior year was we were too soft on Valvano and the administration,
00:01:14.171 so I made a very conscious decision as editor that we were going to make sure that as sports editor you completely focus on just covering the game while we're going to have
00:01:30.133 our news people just cover the Personal Fouls situation, and I think we did a better job of covering it that way. It was too much for a managing editor and a sports editor
00:01:42.481 to have that person try to do both, because it created too much of a conflict, worrying about what Bruce Poulton's going to say, whether or not Valvano was going to give you access to his locker room,
00:01:54.726 especially for someone who's twenty-one years old. That's just too much to worry about. That was a very tough situation for us. We took a lot of heat.
00:02:05.795 That year, '89/'90, was a very tough year for Technician. I can't tell you how many times in my dorm room late at night people would come by and throw stuff.
00:02:18.209 One time I even got dead birds hanging from my door. I had dog doo-doo mailed to my dorm room. Madelyn and I were just talking about this the other day.
00:02:33.564 She said people still hate you for-. I said, yeah, you know that's just part of the job. But we had to do what we had to do, because I felt as managing editor the year before we were really soft
00:02:54.486 on the administration. Bruce Poulton, the chancellor at the time, and Valvano, we really gave them a free ride. We should have been at least fair to them,
00:03:08.732 and I thought we were fair to them, probably more fair than we should have been to those guys, but I think we also put our sports department in a very bad situation.
00:03:21.008 We needed to have that delineation and we also needed to let our students know what was really going on. They didn't need to go to the News & Observer to-.
00:03:32.907 They should not have had to spend twenty-five cents to go to the News & Observer to get news when their student fees were paying for us to give them news.
00:03:43.195 So, yes, I made that decision, along with Suzanne Perez, who was managing editor at the time. We made the decision that we were going to give them the news
00:03:53.441 and we were going to tell them everything we knew, because that was our jobs.