Criticism of journalists is nothing new. This is why we at The Slate were not entirely surprised to face some of it ourselves this past week after releasing what was supposed to be our last issue of the year.
The Slate staff, however, decided to make one more issue after learning of multiple comments made about this organization within the last week.
These comments, while vague in nature, insinuated that The Slate has caused divisiveness in some of its coverage and that we do not have all of the facts in our reporting.
In an interview, both the president and the interviewer referred to the column I wrote last week titled “SU fails to communicate truth of campus issues” as an “article.” This has compelled me to explain to all of you what a column is, and the important difference between this and news coverage.
A column is a commentary piece that uses facts to formulate an opinion — typically the perspective of one individual. “Your World Today” — which is in the news section — shares opinions on news related to some of the topics covered by that section. It is a column that was started by former editor-in-chief Troy Okum, and carried on by myself.
Each “Your World Today” column is preceded by the word “commentary” at the top of the piece. This same word precedes the headline with the online version, with the intent of informing readers before they even click on the link that what they are about to read is opinion.
Confusing the word “article” with an opinion piece is understandable if you are not familiar with journalism terms, but it also makes the line between commentary and straight reporting murkier.
I do not have a problem with people challenging my opinion; in fact, I welcome it. But it is an issue when people base criticism of The Slate around an opinion piece that is me simply sharing my perspective of the “Shippensburg University story.” If criticism is directed at anyone, it should only be toward me.
I am proud of the work The Slate staff has done this year, and I stand by the reporting and facts presented in these stories. I know that the staff will persevere, no matter what adversity is thrown its way.