OUR VIEW: Endorsements, editorials do not affect reporting

The Daily News

This editorial reflects the views of the Daily News and not other organizations affiliated with bsudaily.com.

At issue: Elections chair raises journalism ethics question

Kevin Thurman has decided to question the journalism ethics of the Daily News because of an editorial written about the Student Government Association elections board and an endorsement for executive board slate Cardinal United.

As a publication, we welcome all opinions and criticisms, including Thurman’s. The editorial board would like to acknowledge some of Thurman’s claims, though, so readers can decide for themselves. 

In his letter to the editor, Thurman said the writers of the Daily News never informed him or the elections board that the paper would write an editorial for Thursday’s paper, and that no one asked for comment. On Wednesday night, Thurman came to the Daily News newsroom and sat down with two reporters, one of whom was opinion editor Kelly Dickey. She asked him questions and he was aware that everything he said was on the record. Everything he said was publishable, and it doesn’t matter which page it was published on. 

Thurman said the Daily News misquoted him about releasing information regarding the investigation of Cardinal United and senators Con Sullivan and Jason Pickell. He did say the Daily News could request documents through the Freedom of Information Act, which the newspaper has done. But that is something that the publication can do by law, and in no way means that Thurman or the elections board provided that information.

Because of the editorials, Thurman said it brings the Daily News’ reporting into question. Dickey, who wrote the elections board editorial and the endorsement for Cardinal United, has never written any news articles about SGA. 

Thurman also takes issue with the fact that the Daily News wrote an endorsement at all, implying professional news sources present only facts and not opinions. But the reality is writing endorsements is standard newspaper practice. The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Indianapolis Star all write endorsements, just to name a few. 

Each slate came to the Daily News willingly on Sunday and were all aware that we would likely endorse one of them. It’s a process Thurman should understand since he sought the Daily News’ endorsement when he ran for SGA president in 2011. 

In the midst of the 2012 presidential and local elections, the Indianapolis Star explained why it endorses candidates: “Endorsements fit with our daily mission of community leadership. That leadership includes listening to and providing a forum for diverse points of view, bringing people together in civil conversations and debate, and helping different segments of our community find ways to work together.”

It’s not a coincidence the Daily News’ opinion section is called Forum. It’s an outlet to start a conversation, which we clearly have with Thurman. It does not mean our reporting is biased. 

If Thurman or other students think it is unethical for the Daily News to have an opinion page, then should we eliminate it? If so, Thurman would not have been able to write his letter to the editor. 

Readers are entitled to their opinions on our Forum page, and we’re entitled to ours.


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