‘We recognize that we contributed to the harm students experienced…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Northwestern University’s student newspaper apologized for its coverage of a “retraumatizing” event on campus featuring former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The Daily Northwestern called its coverage of the event a “mistake” and said that due to its “invasive” coverage, it was “not the paper that Northwestern students deserve.”
“The Daily sent a reporter to cover that talk and another to cover the students protesting his invitation to campus, along with a photographer,” the paper’s editorial board said in a statement. “We recognize that we contributed to the harm students experienced, and we wanted to apologize for and address the mistakes that we made that night — along with how we plan to move forward.”
A group of protesters gathered outside of Sessions’s event, and pictures of them were included in the paper’s original article.
Reporters then reached out to them for quotes, which was “an invasion of privacy,” the paper explained.
Several critics were quick to point out that conducting interviews and reporting on a campus event is the point of journalism.
If the Daily Northwestern refuses to do journalism, some other enterprising students should step in and do it instead https://t.co/2RXpcYP55Z
— Graeme Wood (@gcaw) November 11, 2019
Even after facing immense backlash, the paper’s editor defended the apology.
/1 Yesterday, @thedailynu published a statement on our coverage of the Jeff Sessions event and protests on campus last week and I wanted to address the concerns that everyone has shared on Twitter.
— Troy Closson (@troy_closson) November 12, 2019
“Something we thought about a lot this week is how challenging it is to be student journalists who are reporting about other students,” editor in chief Tory Closson told the Washington Post. “We’re thinking about what our role looks like specifically as student journalists who have to cover this, but at the same time we have to go to class with those students tomorrow.”