EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern University’s student newspaper is being criticized because it apologized for its coverage of a student protest.
When students marched during a campus appearance by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, The Daily Northwestern published photos. It also called student protesters asking whether they’d be willing to be interviewed.
The paper then took down the pictures and issued a long statement Sunday, apologizing because it said some students felt traumatized that their privacy was invaded.
Critics said the paper owed them no apology, because it was simply doing what journalists are supposed to do.
In appalling ignorance of the basics of news-gathering, a Northwestern student newspaper:
-apologies for taking photos of students protesting Jeff Sessions
-and for using the student directory to text students to ask if they wanted to be interviewed.https://t.co/WqceMiVLlH
— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) November 12, 2019
It seems like the (ostensibly very good) j-school at Northwestern might want to educate the students at the student newspaper about how journalistic ethics and processes work. By these standards, no real journalism would ever get done. https://t.co/dgpcSVnOHN
— Elizabeth Spiers (@espiers) November 12, 2019
I don’t doubt the sincerity of these student journalists. But I worry that if journalists keep ceding ground on when it is acceptable to do basic reporting, we eventually play into the hands of powerful interests who would love to criminalize journalism. https://t.co/85iCvN9hE1
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) November 12, 2019
As a former NU Medill student, I’m sad to see The Daily apologize for doing the basics of reporting. You can debate how to cover certain events, but publishing photos of public protests and tracking down contact info is what you learn in Journalism 101. https://t.co/60P0LHssDm
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) November 12, 2019