In last week’s issue of the Foghorn (Oct. 20), our staff printed a report on the Athletics Department’s “Midnight Madness.” In this article, our reporter described the various performances at the event, detailed the crowd’s reaction to these performances, and interviewed several contributors to the event. As a staff, we contend that the printed article reported on the event accurately and without bias. After distribution of the paper, however, several members of the USF community were not pleased with the article.
Both our editor-in-chief and news section editor received emails from Midnight Madness organizers claiming that the Foghorn did not report on the event fairly. The criticism centered on the fact that the Foghorn did not portray the event in a positive light and did not show that the event increased school spirit or successfully engaged students.
The Foghorn Staff would like to take this time to make our role on campus clear to those who may not be fully aware of our function. First and foremost, the Foghorn is the written representation of the student voice. We strive to report on events that are significant to the USF student body and publish articles that we believe have an impact on student life, as well as the great USF community. The Foghorn Staff’s is committed to unbiased journalism and we continually report on campus events with as much objectivity as possible. Staff opinions and judgments on university issues are reserved for the Opinion Section and staff editorials only.
The Foghorn is not influenced by the public relations team at USF, nor are we the university’s website or promotion tool. If events take place on campus that students respond negatively to or show disinterest in, the Foghorn staff will report accordingly. In the incidence of Midnight Madness, the article in the Foghorn described the crowd of mostly students booing the people on stage, laughing at a performer with a disability, and talking through much of the event. Although this is not the optimal depiction of the USF student body and the Foghorn in no way supports this behavior, the occurrence of this conduct had a substantial effect on the event on which the Foghorn was reporting. We firmly believe that no administrator at USF may prohibit or censor articles describing such behavior. The Foghorn Staff refuses to sacrifice objective reporting in order to make individual administrators or departments feel more comfortable.
The Foghorn Staff encourages any person who opposes our policies on objective reporting to write a letter to our editorial board. Our staff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and our opinion section editor can be reached at email@example.com.
Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy
Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain
Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron