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A response about journalistic integrity

October 6, 2017

In last week’s issue of the newspaper, I wrote an article about hazing. Initially, I was going to put something in the article, that was brought to my attention, about a form of hazing that had occurred a few years ago while the class of 2018 were freshmen and sophomores. Within Monmouth College athletics, hazing was happening. I was going to say what team it was, what activity was involved, and how it was eliminated. I was asked to not put the passage in the article because it would put a negative image on the team and program.

I, the 2017-2018 Editor-in-Chief of the Courier, apologize to the student body of Monmouth College. I succumbed to the pressure and took the passage out of the article. You might be thinking to yourself, “Why is he making such a big fuss about this?” I am making a such a big fuss about this because hazing, at any level, whether it is making freshmen carry equipment or somebody dying, is a significant issue that is often overlooked and written off as tradition or rite of passage. People see it as newcomers earning their rights on their respective team or organization, but they are doing more grunt work for no reason and are, ultimately, unjustly picked on in the process. Just because traditions are seen as things that should never be broken does not mean they are okay to stay around.

The other and more prevalent reason why I apologize is because I acted against my journalistic integrity. I felt that I was reporting fairly on the issue and was still asked to take out news, that may not have been liked upon by everyone but was still news. I need to make something clear. For the past few years, The Courier has been strongly encouraged to report only positive articles, which have resulted in forceful fluff pieces that ultimately make our newspaper uninteresting. We are now breaking our mold of writing traditional “Monmouth College is never wrong” pieces and are writing about the bad and ugly parts of our school as well. That is what news writing is about. We report the whole picture rather than just a portion of it. If we continue to not report all of the information then we are no better than the fake news authors that report lies about our political parties in the United States. I, for one, will not tolerate any type of self-censorship any longer.

Riley Hess

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2 Responses to A response about journalistic integrity

  1. Chris Williams

    October 6, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Al be it late it is nice to see you stand up and take credit for doing the wrong thing. We now need the Athletes, coaches, AD and schools to do the same thing. That said I fear we are a long ways from this happening.

  2. Pete Leland

    October 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

    A correct and courageous stand. Reporting “bad” and unfavorable news makes your favorable news more reliable. I hope you and the newspaper are prepared for the soon to be coming and certain crap which will be raining down.