Where Do We Stand?
Posted by iusbvision on December 6, 2006
December is here and almost as if on cue, it is snowing outside. Apt, somehow, for the atmosphere of journalism on campus – somewhere in between two rows of doors, with hints of snow and hints of central heating, all depending on which way you are going.
On one hand, the Preface has strongly opposed the Vision’s stand on whether it was correct to publish the news of the alleged rape on campus. In this arena, the Vision still feels it necessary to clarify its stand on some of the issues raised.
The emphasis of the Preface editorial was placed on their legal right to publish the article of an alleged rape on campus. The Vision never stated they did not have a legal right and it is unfortunate the Preface used so much space responding to an argument we never made. The request was to acknowledge whether they had the ethical right. In this, the Preface defended itself on the grounds of holding the university accountable. This is understandable if there was something to hold the university accountable for, however, no claim ever held IUSB administration in any way deficient in conduct.
Let us take just one page from the official campus newspaper, which states itself as being accredited by the Associated Collegiate Press, regulated by the Publications Board, and whose faculty advisor works in the field of journalism. The Preface wrote, “After allegations were filed, the university has [sic] installed deadbolt locks in the music rooms… If no one was informed, how would the university be held accountable for making the necessary safety precautions?”
The Vision agrees that both publications should hold people accountable for their actions, and yes, through this, positive action can be taken. However, the argument is this: the decision to take safety precautions was made before the Preface reported the incident.
As for the idea of journalistic principles: if the Preface is adamantly willing to hold others accountable, it appears they should respectfully – or is not the word here is laudably? – accept those who attempt to hold them as accountable as well. Otherwise, they risk jeopardizing their own journalistic integrity – integrity which one can have with or without accreditation by the Associated Collegiate Press.
On the other hand, editor of the Preface Jason Cytacki has put forward a somewhat reconciliatory tone in comments on the weblog of the Vision. “This is just an idea, but what about two autonomous publications that worked together to cover create something greater than both separate parts?” he wrote, though making it a point to add that any charter would be advisory rather than binding.
To this, the Vision views some hope at moving forward with the Preface, but stands firm that a charter should have some real value. This real value can only stem from having a stand. Freedom of speech is one of them. The choice of self-restraint is another. Are these two not compatible? Jason Cytacki mentions the need to “engage in a thoughtful discussion”, and through this perhaps we shall move forward, and perhaps we may not. Once again, time will tell.
In the end, the real issue is this: when the Preface came out with its response to the IUSB Vision, Northside Hall’s stack of Vision copies all but disappeared. The IUSB community is reading, and people are discussing: though only a few do so publicly on the weblog. If nothing else, this debate has brought different ideas to the table. Above all else, ideas are what really move us forward, even – or especially – when they are ones you do not agree with.
When newspapers are not determined by sales figures, the quest to determine the way forward for campus journalists must include four very important words to our readers: Where do you stand?
Which of course, tags the question: Where are you going?
The Editorial Board of the Vision