Valuing a Variety of Perspectives


Graphic by Zainab Imam

In a recent story about possible changes to Roe v. Wade, a reader questioned in an online comment how long we gave to the Christians on Campus and Pro-Life Club to provide comment compared to the amount of time we gave to the Young Democratic Socialists of America Club.

The question implied there was a deliberate effort to exclude the voices of the more conservative clubs from the story. And this is a reasonable inference given the lack of response from either the Christians on Campus or Pro-Life Club. However, the inference was incorrect. That’s not good journalism. And that’s not how we produce journalism at the Courier.

The Courier’s policy is to be fair in all our coverage. That means not limiting voices or opinions based on political affiliation or ideology. More importantly, it involves actively seeking out diverse voices and opinions or divergent views. It’s also important that those views are rooted in facts. What actively sought (and continue to look for) students who disagree about what laws about abortion should entail, or who disagree about abortion rights. Having an array of perspectives helps readers understand what people believe and why. And that’s good information to have when developing your personal views. It’s also good journalism. In short, we were just as disappointed as the reader that those clubs that may have had a different perspective did not respond to interview requests. 

In a typical scenario, as a weekly publication, we have the luxury of allowing people several days to respond to our requests. That’s our standard practice. In a breaking news situation, we post responses as we receive them. 

This approach is our standard practice at the Courier. It’s also standard journalism practice at credible news organizations. 

The greatest barrier to this approach is when people choose not to respond to our interview requests or decline our requests. Journalists have no special legal power or authority to get people to talk to us. All we do is ask, and ask again, using every way we can identify to contact a person or organization. 

Sometimes after we run a story we find someone or some organization we didn’t know existed or hadn’t thought to contact, who comes forward with something to say. That’s great! We love when that happens, and we are happy to provide a platform for those voices either through follow-up articles or through letters to the editor and guest columns. 

Our response to the reader who was disappointed that neither of the more conservative clubs provided comment was to invite her to submit a letter to the editor to provide her perspective and continue the conversation about this topic.

Letters and guest columns can be submitted to the student editor-in-chief at: [email protected] or to the Courier adviser at: [email protected]