By THE BLUE AND GRAY PRESS EDITORIAL BOARD
Over the past few weeks, Northwestern University’s student-run newspaper, the Daily Northwestern, has been under fire for its coverage of a protest against an event held by the Northwestern University College Republicans. The event featured a talk from former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Reporters covered both the talk by Sessions and the protest against him. The backlash against the publication began after photographs of protesters appeared on Twitter. Additionally, reporters used a campus directory to reach out to some photographed individuals to request comments or interviews. Backlash from some groups at Northwestern prompted an apology from the editors. However, the Daily Northwestern acted well within the boundaries of good journalism during its initial reporting. Public demonstrations, as well as participants in those demonstrations, can be photographed and documented.
The Daily Northwestern is not alone. Harvard University’s newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, faced similar backlash for how it covered a protest against the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Harvard Crimson reached out to ICE for a comment after the protests, though ICE did not respond. The Crimson’s requests for comment prompted several student groups at Harvard to call for a boycott of the paper. Requesting comments from the parties involved in a story is a central tenet of good journalism. Student journalists, and journalists in general, must be willing and able to seek the truth in a story. Journalists, both student and professional, need not apologize for fair, responsible reporting.
This editorial was lead by Cayley McGuire