On Aug. 30, we released photos of the spray paint on and around Irving Elementary School from the night before. In the media, we are taught to post information as soon as possible and be the first to report on breaking news. We posted the photos right away because that was the information that we had on the incident. We could have taken a step back and gone more in-depth with our reporting before publishing our photos and the statement that was posted with them.
The Simpsonian has historically reported on off-campus news if we felt it was still of interest to students. You can find more articles about town news under the “Indianola News” tab on the Simpsonian website. It is true that we don’t report on town news nearly as much as campus news, but we try our best to do so when relevant.
We acknowledge that given the lack of context provided both within our post and about the incident, it may have come across as startling or alienating to many Simpson students. In no way was that our intent and we will use this as a learning experience moving forward. Covering breaking news can be a difficult task due to time constraints. We will conduct our due diligence with in-depth reporting about the situation as soon as more information is made available to us.
Since Irving is right next to campus and students walk by it every day, we felt that we should cover the incident. We are, in no way, accusing any student or group of people of committing the act; doing so would be a violation of our journalistic ethics. We were trying to inform the campus of what is happening around us. This incident would have been reported and covered the same no matter what messages were conveyed on Irving’s property.
We decided to use the word vandalism because, at the time, felt like the most appropriate word to describe the incident at Irving. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of vandalism is the defacement of public or private property. We, as an editorial team, now understand how the connotations of the language we use in articles and posts can impact our Simpson community. It is the goal of our staff and team to avoid this kind of ignorance and bias in the future to have the fairest and most objective reporting as possible.
We are genuinely sorry for not covering the Black Lives Matter movement over the summer. The summer is more challenging for our team to be active when class is not in session and our reporters no longer have an obligation to The Simpsonian. We will make it our goal to do a better job at reporting such monumental events when school is not in session as it is still relevant to students. The incident at Irving should not have been our first coverage in relation to the movement. We strongly believe that people of color’s voices are not being heard on campus and nationally, which is why changes must be made. Our editorial staff believes, without a doubt, that BLACK LIVES MATTER. In the future, we will do a better job of helping to support voices in the movement. We urge the Simpson Administration to do the same.
We encourage everyone that wants their opinions heard to write a letter to the editor. A letter to the editor ensures that all voices are heard of all different viewpoints and will be published. The Simpsonian is also an organization that is open to everyone that wants to join, even to students that are not communications majors. The class is available to everyone and we’d love to have more students to join our team and help us continue to improve our journalism as we ourselves are still students who are learning. As communications students, we thoroughly study the First Amendment and ethics of journalism. With that being said, we are still learning the gravity of these concepts and are not exempt from making mistakes as students. As an editorial staff, we are open to all opinions. You can contact us or submit a letter to the editor by email, [email protected]
As members of the Simpsonian, we want to take this criticism and learn from it. We appreciate the feedback that has come our way, and as a team, we plan on taking it to heart so we can do better. We never intended to upset anyone, but we recognize that we still did nonetheless and that is not okay. The editorial team for the Simpsonian takes responsibility for our actions and it will impact our future reporting.