Covering ourselves in the news as student journalists is a challenge other news outlets and publications struggle to conduct properly, even as professionals.
To remain as unbiased as possible in covering this situation, we decided to divide our staff into advocates and reporters.
Natalie Anderson, the managing editor, and Ramsina Odisho, the editor in chief, both played roles as advocates, speaking on behalf of The Reveille and Student Media during the Student Senate meeting on April 24. Our news editors Evan Saacks and Abbie Shull covered the reporting. Saacks and Shull never took part in advocating in front of the student senate, and treated the story as any other news coverage.
After SG approved the legislation to send the referendum to the student body, we sent an email to alumni on April 23 to request testimonials about their time in Student Media and the benefits it had served them. A screenshot of the email then circulated social media.
After the email was made public, we decided not to publish testimonials from alumni because we didn’t want the language of the email to devalue the testimonials and the sentiment behind them.
On Tuesday, April 24, while we were still gathering information, it was important for us to ensure that all voices involved in the situation were heard. We reached out to Gumbo co-editor in chief Marlie Lynch and SG senator Jack Green, who drafted the legislation, to allow them the opportunity to submit a letter to the editor in this issue. Green declined to write a column.
Moving forward, The Daily Reveille is dedicated to honoring our mission to conduct unbiased, factual reporting for our audience.
Directly from Natalie Anderson:
The email I sent privately to alumni was with haste and as an emergency call for support against the potential cuts Student Media could face. I wrote that Student Government “blatantly lied to us” about the procedure and schedule of events regarding Student Media cuts. At the time it was sent, the information we had contradicted the reality of the situation. The email was never intended to be publicized, and it also stated that our team was continuing to confirm the details of the situation. Such wording would never be used in any of my news reporting or any other employee of The Daily Reveille’s work. But as a 21-year-old student who’s passionate about the value of Student Media, I allowed that passion to cloud my judgement of using such powerful words.