This is a newspaper

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A letter from the editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

First and foremost, The University News is a journalistic entity. While it covers a variety of events and people, our staff’s primary duty is to investigate issues relevant to all at the University of Dallas, whether those issues are off campus or on it.

It did not surprise me that our previous edition made waves when students and faculty learned, many for the first time, that changes were being made to the Charity Week jail, specifically dealing with how people were arrested. What did surprise me was that a few people were not pleased that the News chose to give this topic such prominence, or that the News covered it at all.

This is a newspaper; our staff is made up of journalists. Yes, we may receive our funding from the university, but that does not restrict us in regard to what we can or cannot cover. Our mission is to ensure that the students, faculty, alumni and anyone with any ties to this university know what is happening, and this is a role we take seriously. Especially in cases where there is a lack of communication between the administration and students, or when important knowledge is not shared, we are the means of communication. Failure to succeed in this mission would not only be negligent on our part, but also derelict to our duty to the students and administration of the university.

We do not take sides in disagreements; we present the fullest explanation of the disagreement that we can. That is what we tried to do in the case of the jail controversy, and succeeded. I am incredibly proud of my staff and the edition that they assembled this past week. They took on what became a tough topic and brought it to people’s attention when they needed to see it.

Some believe the News is, or should be, a simple student publication that merely shows the bright spots of UD. To do so would be a disservice to the staff of the paper and to everyone who may read it. Just as any good newspaper shows the highs and lows of the community it covers, so too will this paper cover UD’s successes as well as its shortcomings. The University News will continue in this role and take on tough topics not because we relish controversy but because that is our role and duty as journalists.

 

—Hunter Johnson

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. Hunter, I do not disagree with you, and fully understand the mission of a journalist and newspaper, but I do disagree in the timing of this article. Yes, the jail was an issue that the student body needed to hear about, yet the article did not explore the extent of the issue. Additionally, it only shed negative light on Charity Week and reflected poorly on the Co-Chairs and others who have spent countless hours preparing for this event. It was extremely short sighted and a poor judgment call on the behalf of your staff to run such a negative article the week of Charity Week, thus negatively impacting the overall results and attitude of the week.

    • E,

      You cannot criticize a newspaper article’s timing because, regardless of whether or not you think it is a convenient time, controversies are going to happen and they deserve to be reported on. The university newspaper did its job by keeping the student body up to date on a current issue, and it added clarity to the jail controversy by providing an avenue for the administration and students to provide official comments.

      Stuff happens, and the paper did its job by telling people what happened and when it happened.

    • While I think the timing was appropriate, I do not think the paper covered the jailing situation to the best of its ability. Last week’s article was primarily pointing fingers and did not adequately go into detail the reasoning behind the changes that were made, just who to blame for them.

  2. E, I do not think that you do “understand the mission of a journalist and newspaper.” For a journalist to do their job, they must report relevant news while it is still relevant. The article did a fantastic job of presenting the available facts as free from bias as possible, and for that I applaud the University News. To wait until charity week was over would have been the irresponsible action. Students need to know what is going on as it happens, and if the News is the only source of such transparency (as it sometimes seems to be) then there is an added responsibility for timely reporting. Imagine if news sources waited to report the results of an election until after the President was sworn in. It makes no sense to use news to cater to a select few people who may or may not have some damage to their reputations — at least not in this instance.

  3. The University News has done an awesome job covering this topic! Thank you for keeping the students and alumni up to date on the controversy in such a professional and unbiased manner.

  4. Hunter,

    I appreciate your take and believe that you are completely correct. The paper did exactly what it is supposed to do, report the news when there is news. I for one am happy that the UD News covered something important and interesting, however controversial it may be.

    Let’s be honest, it is rare that “real” news happens at UD, and it’s great to see the newspaper not shy away. Well done.

    The one part that you could have mentioned, that would even have bolstered your argument, is that technically (though it has never happened before) the newspaper is overseen and can be censored by the President, and he did not in this case because he believes in the importance and independence of the newspaper and what it reports.

    Let me know if I am wrong on that, but that is what I understood in the three years that I worked there.

    Keep at it, there are many things at UD that this paper can and should dredge up, it just takes some time and effort; things that one should never be afraid of putting in.

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