Why we publish, the way we publish

Sarah Harris

The Chronicle gets questioned often about why we report on what we do. It’s difficult to explain to non-journalists, but this is going to be my attempt.

Let’s start with the definition of news. News is information of recent events and previously unknown information, according to Merriam-Webster.

The Chronicle strongly stands behind our policy to report information that we believe the community should know about. This information varies immensely and includes, but is not limited to, shuttle schedule changes, Chartwells prices increasing, philanthropy events, athletic game recaps, the president’s salary, student-created apps, arrests, car accidents, different organizational events; the list goes on. Whether it is positive or negative, we cover it.

If the campus is talking about it, we cover it because it is information that people want to know more about. We also may cover something to set the record straight because when a story isn’t reported, false information tends to spread. If there’s no new information, there’s no new information. But we continue to search for information that we deem important for students to know.

Now that we covered what we report on, let’s go into how we report.

We gather the facts. Let’s say someone called us to tell us a rumor he or she heard around campus. We then try to verify what that source said. Often that means going directly to the group involved so it can confirm what we heard. Other times that means we go to the university’s public relations department to see if they can verify the news.

If someone tells us a tip anonymously or off the record, we cannot publish that information. There have been multiple times where The Chronicle finds out something the student body should definitely know about it, but we run into walls where no one can confirm the information or go on the record about it.

When we are able to verify the information, we get reactions from students because if we only reported the facts, it’s just The Chronicle spitting out information. So we ask students what their opinion on the situation is. And we try to get a variety of answers so we ask a variety of people–we may ask professors for their take on situations; we ask freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, different majors, different genders, races and so on. Sometimes we get a variety of answers, and other times the responses are generally the same.

The student body’s voice is so important to us that we have an entire section of The Chronicle, on page two, where we ask students their opinion on world and campus news. You’d be surprised at how often people don’t know what’s going on in the world, so they either respond with “no comment” or we explain to them in the best way that we can about the current topic, and then let them form an opinion and decide whether or not they want to comment.

We do this because we do not want to publish our own opinions (the exception is this page) and when we ask for student responses, we are giving the student body a voice. And when people involved do not comment on the situation and give their opinion on it, they are choosing to silence themselves.

The Chronicle is here to report news; The Chronicle is here for you.