Playing it fair – and getting it right

by Kate Paulman

It’s our job to bring you the news as it relates to the campus.Not only that, it is our job to bring you that news in a fair andunbiased manner. And as the only student newspaper on campus, it isvital that we report the news in the most timely and most effectivemanner. The Simpsonian is “the oldest continuously publishedstudent newspaper.” Sounds impressive, right? But the key phrasethere is “student newspaper.”

The staff – myself, the section editors, writers, photographers- are all students. We’re all still learning. That means that we’llsometimes tell you that the soccer team beat Craelton, instead ofCarleton. And sometimes we will say that the cross country team”beings the meet,” instead of “begins the meet.”

And sometimes, we make more serious mistakes.

It is difficult, in the world of journalism, to report storiesfully and free from any bias. And sometimes, stories do getpublished that, in hindsight, were not fully reported norbias-free.

This happened in the Sept. 30 edition of The Simpsonian. Thestory on page 10, “Theme gets started on the wrong foot,” wasintended to be a look at how students and athletes feel about thisyear’s Homecoming theme. From The Simpsonian’s Storm on the Street- on page 5 – it is clear that students on campus have positivefeelings for the Homecoming theme. However, these positive opinionswere missed in the story. The story cited four students who hadnegative feelings about the Homecoming theme. In a college of 1,452students, three opinions cannot be taken as the opinion of theentire student body.

The other side of the story, as it were, wasn’t examined.

No students who supported the theme were quoted in the story,leaving the story only half-reported.

The student reporter was told to look for a negative angle tothe story, an editorial mistake.

In an award-winning publication such as The Simpsonian, thisshould not have happened. The staff will do its best to ensure thatsuch an episode doesn’t happen again. The Simpsonian is a learningtool for the student staff. We will use this episode as a learningtool and will continue to grow as a newspaper staff.

It is our job, to bring you the news. At the same time, it isyour job, as our audience, to call us on any mistakes that we domake.

If any group or individual ever feels that the content of TheSimpsonian is biased, it is important that action is taken.

In these kinds of situations, the best course of action iswriting a Letter to the Editor. It is important that The Simpsonianis held responsible for any errors in judgment, reporting orediting and that said errors are rectified.

The Simpsonian is one of the best student newspapers – for itssize and circulation – in the nation. As such, it will continue toact as a publication independent from outside influence and itsstaff will continue to report the news in the best and most timelymanner it is able to.

But, as I said before, if there is ever a question as to ournews judgment, it is critical such concerns are addressed.