Journalism School Dean Shames School Paper For Apologizing For Doing Journalism

The dean of the Medill School of Journalism shamed the school's paper for apologizing to triggered, activist classmates.

Chicago, IL – Northwestern University’s student newspaper embarrassed their own school of journalism by posting an apology for their “retraumatizing and invasive” coverage of former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ speech on their campus.

Sessions was a guest at a sanctioned College Republicans event held Nov. 5 on the university’s campus.

The university’s daily newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, covered the event and the protesters outside just as they were supposed to, and the trigger-sensitive classmates who had been captured protesting had a fit.

So the school paper apologized for doing its job.

“The Daily sent a reporter to cover that talk and another to cover the students protesting his invitation to campus, along with a photographer,” The Daily Northwestern explained in an apologetic opinion column published on Nov. 10. “We recognize that we contributed to the harm students experienced, and we wanted to apologize for and address the mistakes that we made that night — along with how we plan to move forward.”

The apology went on to describe Sessions’ speech as a “traumatic event” and promised that the publication had since removed from its website and its reporters’ social media all the pictures of protesters.

The Daily Northwestern had also interviewed some of the students who were protesting and quoted them in their coverage, which is standard protocol for news reporting.

But Northwestern’s school paper apologized for quoting the students and using their names, and removed all of that from their coverage as well.

The decision to post the apology was met by criticism throughout the media industry, but none more pointed than that by the head of their own university’s journalism school.

Medill School of Journalism Dean Charles Whitaker said in a statement that he had also received complaints from angry activists like the ones The Daily Northwestern was responding to.

Whitaker said he explained to those students that the newspaper had an obligation to capture those events for their readers and for posterity.

“Journalism—when executed fairly, accurately and independently —allows a society to see itself in all its splendor and strife,” the dean of Northwestern University’s journalism school wrote. “It often is our only chronicle of the people and events that shape and govern our existence. Conversely, when done poorly or unfairly, journalism can most certainly scar individuals and communities.”

“Indeed, there is no shortage of instances in which journalists have parachuted into settings, particularly those occupied by vulnerable or marginalized people, and provided accounts that were devoid of any sense of cultural competency,” Whitaker continued.

“But let me be perfectly clear, the coverage by The Daily Northwestern of the protests stemming from the recent appearance on campus by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in no way beyond the bounds of fair, responsible journalism,” the dean wrote. “The Daily Northwestern is an independent, student-run publication. As the dean of Medill, where many of these young journalists are trained, I am deeply troubled by the vicious bullying and badgering that the students responsible for that coverage have endured for the ‘sin’ of doing journalism.”

Whitaker acknowledged in his missive that the newspapers’ reporters and editors had had the best of intentions when they published the controversial reports and pictures, and when they published the inappropriate apology for the same material.

He also gave them a stern public lecture on the professional field which, as budding professional journalists, they are purportedly planning to enter.

“But I patently reject the notion that our students have no right to report on communities other than those from which they hail, and I will never affirm that students who do not come from marginalized communities cannot understand or accurately convey the struggles of those populations,” the dean wrote. “And, unlike our young charges at The Daily, who in a heartfelt, though not well-considered editorial, apologized for their work on the Sessions story, I absolutely will not apologize for encouraging our students to take on the much-needed and very difficult task of reporting on our life and times at Northwestern and beyond.”

“I understand why The Daily editors felt the need to issue their mea culpa,” Whitaker continued. “They were beat into submission by the vitriol and relentless public shaming they have been subjected to since the Sessions stories appeared. I think it is a testament to their sensitivity and sense of community responsibility that they convinced themselves that an apology would effect a measure of community healing.”

Comments (31)
No. 1-13
Navy
Navy

Journalists need to be observers for the public who didn't attend and not interject their leanings. Anything else is not Journalism. Which leads me to consider why Americans can't wear a hat that say's "Make America Great Again" without being intimidated that it wouldn't be prudent? What about Free Speech?? Wondering???

LEO0301
LEO0301

We are doing a great job of raising a Nation of pussies. "You hurt my feelings, you big bully". We're almost to the point where the boys will be wearing skirts to class.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Northwestern alumni send an open letter to President Morton Schapiro, denounce deployment of NUPD during Sessions’ visit

On Tuesday, 11/12/2019, 47 recent Northwestern graduates signed an open letter to President Morton Schapiro and University Police Department Chief of Police Bruce Lewis to express “extreme shock and dismay at the University’s violent and repressive response” to student protesters during former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ visit on campus.

Northwestern enrolled 8,368 full-time undergraduate and 8,208 full-time graduate and professional students in the 2010–11 academic year, along with approximately 1,100 part-time students

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwestern_University#Student_body

Akansan
Akansan

Traumatic event snowflakes? Wait until you experience socialism if it comes to pass. You will definitely be traumatized.

asillyrabbit551
asillyrabbit551

so sad that the snowflakes at Northwestern had their feelings hurt by a speech. I can't imagine what will happen to them when they have to get out into the real world and come to the realization that not everyone gets a trophy.

Skycop
Skycop

The last paragraph of the article is the most troubling of the whole situation. The professor and Dean, Whitaker, lost his objectivity and relevance here. "I think it is a testament to their sensitivity and sense of community responsibility that they convinced themselves that an apology would effect a measure of community healing." Way to go prof. You take a stand and then wimp out on an excuse of "feelings" for not being objective and factual in reporting. Is that the lesson here? No wonder these students backed off, they did EXACTLY what you taught them.

RPG156
RPG156

The assertion of victimhood doesn't give anyone the authority to become a bully or part of a mob and to attack others whose ideals they disagree with.

OldVet
OldVet

Another "Snowflake U"

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

How dare student newspaper cover an even that occurred on campus!!!! what's next, professors actually evaluating and grading students based on the caliber of their work???

unclebubby
unclebubby

Just smack those triggered ass babies i don't know if that'll help but i know i'll feel a lot better

Raymelson
Raymelson

Jeff sessions is a complete a,,,,,,, hole

Wish505
Wish505

Young people have not balls anymore. Back in our days at the high school and college I went to you start something like this and the students would smack you down and give you a reason to think twice about doing it again.