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Media Erupts at Northwestern Student Paper Apology: ‘Appalling Ignorance of the Basics of News-Gathering’

Journalists from across the professional and ideological spectrum recoiled in horror and dismay at Northwestern University’s student newspaper, after it issued an apology for following basic news-gathering techniques like calling people for comment and publishing photos of a public protest.

The long apology, published on the website of the The Daily Northwestern, offered a strong self-recrimination, saying it “was not the paper that Northwestern students deserve” for its recent coverage of students protesting a campus visit by former Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“One area of our reporting that harmed many students was our photo coverage of the event. Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive. Those photos have since been taken down,” the editor’s note explained.

“Some students also voiced concern about the methods that Daily staffers used to reach out to them,” the apologia added. “Some of our staff members who were covering the event used Northwestern’s directory to obtain phone numbers for students beforehand and texted them to ask if they’d be willing to be interviewed. We recognize being contacted like this is an invasion of privacy.”

“While our goal is to document history and spread information,” the newspaper said, “nothing is more important than ensuring that our fellow students feel safe.”

The online reaction to the newspaper trying to prioritize its readers’ emotional well-being over its fundamental duty to report the news was both swift and damning.

Some journalists critical of The Daily Northwestern’s apology also pointed to Harvard student government’s decision to come out against the student newspaper, the Crimson, for daring to request a comment from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency after recent “Abolish ICE” protests at the school.

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