Opinion: Stop Asking Me to Remove Your Old Articles
You wrote for your student newspaper when you were in college. You had some strong opinions, some ideas about how things should work. Now, it’s been a few years and you’re looking for jobs. It’s a competitive world out there, and you can’t have any unexpected liabilities.
You remember those articles you wrote back when you had convictions about things. You decide to send an email asking the student paper to remove those articles so that nobody will see that you had an opinion once upon a time. You wait, patiently expecting the articles to come down.
This is becoming a problem. I’ve been getting dozens of requests from former student journalists to remove their articles from our website. At first, I was surprised. Surely, this is unusual? Are these ex-Megaphoners no longer proud of their work? Are they embarrassed by their opinions? Or are they trying to cover their tracks and seem as appealing as possible to potential employers?
Curating an online presence is definitely challenging in the internet age. It’s something that’s of increasing concern for me personally, as I am about to graduate and am actively seeking employment. That being said, I don’t believe that sacrificing your personal beliefs is warranted. We all deserve to be true to ourselves, and “cleaning up” our internet persona just to seem appealing to a corporate entity is disingenuous both to ourselves and to the employers.
In terms of how this relates to The Megaphone and my stance on removing old articles, I firmly believe that it undermines the little journalistic integrity afforded to a student paper when we retract articles for no reason other than an author’s regret. If, ten years from now, I decide I want this article taken down, that decision shouldn’t be up to me.
If it were entirely up to me, I would ignore all petitions to remove old articles. Unfortunately, after dozens of emails from alumni and current staff members, I have decided to remove the names of the authors and leave the articles published. Future editors might feel differently about this, and they have that right. But as long as I’m here, I’m not pulling down articles.