Opinion | Letter from the Editors
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 22:09
To the Miami University and Oxford communities,
As student journalists, we at The Miami Student are trying our best to produce a paper that serves as a voice for the student body, the university administration, the community and other readers. We strive to fully inform our readers about what is happening on campus and in our community.
The editorial board of the Student would like to reiterate and share our policies regarding interviews, quotes and other ethical matters concerning the production and publication of the paper.
Over the past few weeks, the Student has received several emails from potential sources saying that they would not do interviews unless they were conducted over email or if the questions were emailed to them beforehand.
We have a policy of no email interviews. This is a standard practiced by many journalists at both collegiate and professional newspapers.
Our duty as journalists is to report the most candid version of the truth possible. We are not trying to practice gotcha-journalism. By interviewing sources in person or over the phone, we hope to achieve more personal remarks than pre-approved statements. Over email, reporters do not have the opportunity for clarification or follow-up questions, both of which are essential to presenting an accurate and thorough story.
For these same reasons, we never quote articles or press releases.
Students have conducted email interviews in the past but we can only account for this under extreme circumstances. For example, an interview was conducted via email with the Miami Board of Trustee member Michael Armstrong while he was abroad in Guatemala.
Administrators in particular should communicate with students, and one way is through the student newspaper. The administration has a duty to address concerns of the student body and to make public records, such as budgets, available.
If a source is too busy for a face-to-face or phone interview, we politely ask that we may be directed to another source who may be able to answer our questions.
We have also received questions and concerns regarding quote reviews.
As a policy we do allow people to look at the quotes the reporter wrote down during the interview, to check for misquoting, improper paraphrasing, to correct facts and to make sure nothing was taken out of context.
We do not send entire stories before publication, nor do we change quotes for style. This is another common journalistic practice to remain ethical.
We do our best to quote people as accurately as possible. Reporters will ask to record interviews in order to get more accurate quotes.
In the process of reporting and newspaper production, we have several people look at the story and the page before it goes off to print. Stories will often go back and forth between the writer and several editors before we allow it to leave our hands.
If someone has been misquoted they can contact us right away and we will be more than happy to correct the quote, if it is justifiable.
In regards to the policies of a group or individual against speaking with The Miami Student because of a previous error, we would like to remind our readers that the newspaper staff changes frequently, and the errors of past newsroom staff do not reflect the current personnel.
We are doing our best to serve the university and community. But in order to do this we need cooperation from administrators and the community.
The Miami Student Editorial Board