A letter from the editor: “To give the news without fear or favor…”
April 18, 2017
Filed under OPINIONS
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I read an editorial in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette over the weekend about how a high school newspaper uncovered the past of their newly-hired principal. The story goes that a group of high schoolers wanted to introduce their readership to their new principal. When students researched the background of their new principal, they discovered that authorities in Dubai shut down the school she had just come from.
What struck me most about the Post-Gazette’s editorial, though, was the acknowledgement of the crucial, and at times difficult, position school-sponsored papers face when it comes to editorial choice.
I particularly appreciated this line: “There are those who think student journalists should be controlled so they don’t say anything upsetting. But trying to be inoffensive is not journalism.”
The statement is quite true – journalism is the craft of presenting important, pertinent information to an audience. In presenting the goings on of Point Park, it’s important to approach the news without fear. This is true for both journalists and their readership.
In the 1980s, our masthead had with it the quote from Adolph Ochs, the longtime editor of the New York Times, “To give the news without fear or favor…” I don’t know why we stopped including that in our masthead – it was long before my time at Point Park – but I know that that same sentiment rings true in the Globe newsroom.
Crucial to that fear and favor is giving accurate news, and owning up to your errors. We strive every week to give you exactly that – accurate student news. Have we fallen short? Of course, but every time it’s a factual error, we run a correction both online and in print.
I feel honest, transparent and accurate journalism is the most critical thing to provide to the public. Every week I am thankful for the editorial freedom this university allows us. Other than our editorial staff and the kind folks at the Tribune-Review printing facility, no one sees the Globe until we’re published on newsstands Wednesday morning.
Along with that, I appreciate the access we’ve been given by administration. Our front page story on the tuition increase is evident of the most extreme case of that. I’m thankful because as I learned two weeks ago, there are some colleges where the president has not spoken to their student press in a decade.
Could it be better? Of course. But having an open dialogue between student media and administration is crucial, because without communication how can we begin to understand one another?
I can’t help but think of the first edition of the Globe and how concise and precise then-editor Susan Trulove was in articulating the place of this newly-established student outlet. In a blurb on policy, Trulove writes, “GLOBE is also a faculty and administration ‘voice.’ Trite but true is the belief that a sufficient quantity of correct information quells rumors.”
This semester, among other accomplishments, we celebrated 50 years of covering the world of Point Park news. We’ve tried new things – briefs in the news section, graphics in our opinions section and a staff of several section editing rookies that have stepped up to the plate and impressed me.
It’s a tradition at the Globe for the editor to write a letter to our readership at the beginning and end of every semester. I look at the class of 2017 and realize just how much I’ve learned from this group of students.
On this staff alone, two current and three former staffers are graduating. Eddie Trizzino started at the online desk and has served as a feature editor for the past three semesters. Julie Griffith works as layout editor for the past three semesters. If you’ve picked up a copy of the Globe since we went to a standard five-column layout or seen the ripped paper motif that became the look of our 50th anniversary celebration, you’ve seen her handiwork.
Karly Rivera served as a features editor for two semesters and Iain Oldman served as news editor last semester.
Kristin Snapp, who took a chance on me as a freshman to join the news desk, served at the sports desk and as the Globe’s first year-long editor-in-chief in 2015.
I can’t offer much in the way of advice to our graduates other than to keep a healthy dose of skepticism in your
everyday life – don’t be afraid to question everything.
Who knows, you could think of something as simple as a Google search that sheds light in the middle of uncertain darkness.
Thanks for reading,