The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Journalism finds its cojones at DePauw University

The college rag plays with dynamite and emerges unscathed!

The DePauw did a small vox-pop of students, asking
How do you think Black History Month could be better represented on campus?

And instead of the whipped, right-on responses one might have expected, most of the respondents cracked wise.

For instance,
Freshman John Crawford's statement...was, "I haven't seen any riots, so that's always good."

The refusal to jump the modern equivalent of Jim Crow caused gnashing of teeth amongst the grievance-meisters, including
sophomore Marc Mays
who promptly arranged an indignation meeting, for a little light antiphonising and railing at the sins of Whitey.

Sent into the jackals' den was the co-managing editor of the rag. A Klansman with the tobacco spittle running down the lapel of his seersucker jacket? Actually,
sophomore Projjol Banerjea.

No trimmer or genuflector to racial totems is Banerjea. To the whinging of the rabble, he
replied that the opinions had been taken and printed verbatim, and were not the opinion of The DePauw.

"The only thing on the opinion pages that reflects the opinion of The DePauw editorial board is the editorial," Banerjea said. "Everything else is the opinion of students on this campus."

And went on to say that
it was not the newspaper's prerogative to censor these opinions and that the newspaper prints these statements as is, as long as they are not libelous. Banerjea encouraged people to address the issue by sending letters to The DePauw.

How, one wonders, would a Big Media organisation have addressed a similar issue? A racial re-education camp for its editorial staff? A substantial donation to Jesse Jackson's Shakedown Fund?

[Link via Romenesko, where else?]


There are one or two things about the piece that strike me on re-reading it:

Approximately eight students burned issues of The DePauw outside the Center for Contemporary Media Tuesday night and at least 40 students attended an emergency meeting of DePauw

Woah, there! How do they get to
Approximately eight
for crying out loud?

Is this the product of
  • confessions?
  • eye witnesses?
  • CCTV?
  • forensic examination?

Approximately eight screams to me that the paper knows more than it's letting on. We have no indication of timing: so, for all a reader of the piece (with no other information) knows, it might have been possible for the vandalism to have been committed by one or more of the individuals attending the mass rant - at 11 30 pm: a fine hour for reasoned discourse!

Second, the 11 30 meeting is expressed to be
of DePauw's minority community
- it would be interesting to know the composition of that community, and of the meeting. For example, the attendance of Asians: perhaps Banerjea might have hoped for some support from that quarter!

Third, the pic of a seminar room with students is captioned
Members of AAAS met on Wednesday night for their regular weekly meeting. Several members of The DePauw staff attended the meeting to answer any questions and respond to concerns.

But, according to the text, the meeting at which Banerjea spoke was the one at 11 30 on Tuesday night. There were two meetings, then, at which the paper's people get their ears bent?

It all slightly takes the gilt of the gingerbread, cojones-wise...

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