Letter to the Editor Regarding Title IX Investigation Piece
by: Bryony McLaughlin
I was disappointed to see how you chose to report on the subject matter for the article “Southwestern is Under Investigation” in a recent issue of the Megaphone. The bold red font and graphics, the side panels on centerspread and three pages of coverage implied a greater knowledge of information regarding the Office of Civic Rights investigation than you were factually able to report. The writing style was a relaxed form of news and at some parts even came across as features or opinions. Finally, the student interviews you provided were extremely biased on the subject and the individuals quoted seemed to imply they knew more about the investigation in question than the school itself.
The purpose of a news publication is to inform, educate and reflect on issues that are important to the community. The choice of topic was understandable given last year’s events, but how it was covered is a disappointment to me. The article clearly comes across as biased; I am not sure if this was your intention I would like to believe it wasn’t but a student may reasonably presume from this piece that the paper is being used to push personal agendas.
I would ask you to give greater consideration to the responsibility you hold as this community’s only news publication. You walk a fine line as a student publication that is supported by the institution. Many student papers at other schools are NOT funded or supported internally. It says something when a University willingly funds a group that continues to disparage them. It’s also important to note the role you play in our ongoing campus conversations. You have the power to resolve arguments, correct misinformation and frame happenings that can help or hurt the individuals that make up this community. Southwestern is not an institution, the administration is not some amorphous entity lurking in the shadows it is comprised of human beings. In order for us to share this space effectively, we must be willing to communicate respectfully and truthfully. That begins with an honest review of facts and the encouragement for all bodies to engage in civil discourse in a manner that fosters intellectual enlightenment and personal growth. I ask the Megaphone going forward to strive for a better handling of articles that discuss difficult, but important, topics such as this one. In order for the student body to remain actively engaged in addressing issues that impact the wellbeing of our community, they must be able to rely on the accuracy of information from all sources, especially the students’ newspaper.
Bryony McLaughlin ‘16