October 17, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 27  

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EDITORIAL & OPINIONS

Newspaper, not propaganda rag

An open letter to the dean of arts and the chair of English:

So, you hate us. You don't return our phone calls. Let's ask: why are so you upset with us?

Recently, The Gazette published a series of stories about a "controversy" in the film program and the creation of a possible new film dept.

The claim has been The Gazette's coverage has sensationalized the film story. Yes, the word "scandal" was used in a headline. But would you rather we toned down the information we receive or would it be preferable to relay the information given to us?

We do not make up news stories out of thin air. We report what we are told by reliable sources. If the story seems to sound negative, maybe that's because the news isn't always about birds singing under the sun or the latest professor to receive $2 million to study the sexual implications of wheat germ.

Perhaps you're angry because we declined to print your self-packaged compliments? Just so you are aware, we are not Western News. We report the news to students, for students - not for the sake of publishing only the positive spin on happenings at this university.

Could it be you want to downplay the problems encountered by the film program? The fact is, the story began when word reached us of the departure of three of film's four full-time professors. Why does it surprise you that when we quoted you, we chose to use the quotes that respond to this issue rather than printing your self-congratulatory comments?

The objective was to investigate the claims alleged by those professors who had left the film department. If we printed your baseless statements of praise in juxtaposition with the accusations made against you, you would have looked far more ridiculous.

In an article published on Oct. 7, an e-mail sent from the three former film profs to the English department was transcribed word for word. There was no negative slant on our part, it was a statement straight from sources integral to the story.

The Gazette did not cause the departure of almost all of the full-time film professors, you did. You may get a little egg on your face because we've reported your screw-ups, but we are a newspaper and we report the facts. If this event has happened and students need to know about it, it's fair game. If you don't like us writing about the "scandal," then don't create one.

People are now aware of what is going on. The fact this is bad for you is not our fault. Would you rather the process of forming a new department be done in secret?

Do you know what looks even worse? When film stories truly do become one-sided because administration refuses to comment or respond to phone calls. Unfortunately for you, when a serious accusation is met with blanket denials and self-congratulatory generalizations, you look guilty as sin.

 

 

 

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