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Bizarre editorial from the Northwestern student newspaper

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Alma, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    I think that particular thread of tweets makes it pretty obvious.

    Again, a good faith discussion of the role race plays in journalism, and in the coverage of this specific story, is not an attempt to "play the race card."
    Deskgrunt50 likes this.
  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Nice vague evasive answer. Well done.
  3. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

  4. gingerbread

    gingerbread Well-Known Member

    This is a fine statement from the Dean. In summary:
    "I understand why The Daily editors felt the need to issue their mea culpa. They were beat into submission by the vitriol and relentless public shaming they have been subjected to since the Sessions stories appeared. I think it is a testament to their sensitivity and sense of community responsibility that they convinced themselves that an apology would affect a measure of community healing.
    I might offer, however, that their well-intentioned gesture sends a chilling message about journalism and its role in society. It suggests that we are not independent authors of the community narrative, but are prone to bowing to the loudest and most influential voices in our orbit."

    He also chastises the "swarm of alums and journalists who are outraged" because they haven't walked in the shoes of these current student journalists.
    To this, my question remains: Did those student journalists not have even ONE advisor who knew about this editorial and could talk them off the ledge? That they felt the need to apologize -- grovel! -- for doing the bare basics of journalism while covering a public protest is just stunning.
    And I get that they were being bullied by student activists, their peers on campus, but that "prone to bowing to the loudest and most influential voices ..." line ought to be taught the first day of Journalism 101 .
  5. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Thoughtful Twitter thread here by an excellent writer and reporter:

    garrow, HanSenSE and gingerbread like this.
  6. gingerbread

    gingerbread Well-Known Member

    With regard to the race angle, it's my understanding that most of the aggrieved student activists were people of color. Now, while it's difficult for me to wonder why they thought they should be immune from being interviewed (respectfully, from what I understand) or photographed while engaging in a PUBLIC protest, I'm a white woman of a certain age, and I don't have to suffer through their blowback.

    The student editor-in-chief is more inclined to relate to them and with them.
    He writes: "One of the first things I was told when I came into this position was that I was the third black EIC in The Daily’s more than 135 years of publication. I knew that would come with a lot of pressure, but didn’t realize how much until over the past two weeks.
    Being in this role and balancing our coverage and the role of this paper on campus with my racial identity — and knowing how our paper has historically failed students of color, and particularly black students, has been incredibly challenging to navigate. And our statement and the areas it fell short were largely a result of that — of how challenging it can be for marginalized students to navigate situations like those this past week while balancing our identities, roles as student journalists and positions as students at NU."

    SO, I tried to go back in time in my own head, when I was the first female sports editor of my university paper. For years, women's groups, and especially women's athletic teams, were furious with me (and the paper) because we gave short shift to their causes, concerns and, in my case, sports. (They were right! I was remiss, and should have campaigned harder and better to my advisers and the ed-in-chief for better coverage for marginalized students and sports, but I was so caught up with having to prove my worth covering traditional men's sports.)
    Times were different, and never did we consider writing a mea culpa editorial for our "failures." We cared far more about journalism than community/student activism, though I wonder how much that has flipped these days.
    I realize my situation from the stone ages is very different. Just trying to wrap my head around the thinking of this student ed-in-chief and his peers, and how it came to be.
    sgreenwell, HanSenSE and FileNotFound like this.
  7. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    It is very thoughtful.

    It’s not really about the situation at hand.

    The issue is not making hard calls. It’s *apologizing* for making them because some progressive student activists gave them a hard time for doing it.

    The salient question is whether any newspaper, ever, would write an apology editorial for calling the mother of a dead teenager. And the answer is: Of course not. Nor would any newspaper write an apology editorial for calling public protestors at home.

    But this student paper did because it was bullied and shamed into it, and the politics of the bullies were the kind of progressive political that the student media has been trained to think it’s their job to serve.
    Tweener and Doc Holliday like this.
  8. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    The dean's response was good I thought.
  9. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

  10. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Sorry but the statement above by the EIC reeks too much of woe is me cuz I'm just the 3rd black EIC here in 135 years. I'd love to compare that statement to how his interview for the position sounded.

    Trump has really done a number on "media" with his whole #fakenews shtick ... so much that now the #snowflakeleft has taken the baton and run with it.
    Doc Holliday likes this.
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Very even handed.

    I'm still not clear on at least one thing: did the student paper take photographs of protesters out of the story they published? Or did student reporters take photographs of protesters out of their social media feeds?

    That seems like a distinction worth making.

    The only editors note on the original story is that they took out one student's name.

    And again, as Gingerbread has asked, where was the faculty advisor when that apology got written?
  12. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    That’s an after the fact question any time a student newspaper screws up. Faculty advisers at most of these places rarely advise unless asked to do so.
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