Monday, February 16, 2009

A lesson for the Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Tribune ran an editorial called "A Teaching Moment." The Tribune irresponsibly picked up on the Statesman article about hooking up. Click here to read the Tribune editorial. Here is my response to the Tribune:
Dear Editor,
The teaching moment here is in responsible and quality reporting. This is a lesson the Tribune could stand to learn. It's the same lesson Fox needs to learn after showing up at the school after the article ran. This is really a story about poor reporting. Did you get a copy of the paper? Do you have any idea of the content? If so, why not discuss it within your editorial? If not, why are you commenting on it? Fox sent a news reporter out to the school to report on the story with live coverage, but they never read the article either. The student article was based on the opinions of one student. There was no survey, no research, no statistics of any kind. While I do not support censorship, and I do support Thill's efforts at covering topics traditionally left out of school papers, I do not support the way the Tribune, Fox news, WGN radio and other media have used the story as a sensationalized caption of teen life. The article itself was poor reporting and your use of it is even worse, unless of course you consider your paper on the level of a high school newspaper, albeit an award-winning one.

What do you think of this editorial? Do you see how the media irresponsibly reports on stories that might get them some notice? These stories seem credible to those who are not on the inside - which most of the time is not us. But this time it is us. Knowing what you know, I hope this episode will make you more media saavy. Be mindful of what you read, listen to and watch.

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