Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Criticize the paper, not a writer


The April 26, 2016 issue of the Miami Student included two letters to the editor that criticized previously published Miami Student articles. I applaud the editors for a having the courage to print negative comments directed at their own newspaper. I am not writing to comment on the quality of these critiques. My problem is that the original authors were called out by name. I think the Miami Student should consider requiring future critiques to be made toward articles, not authors.

I have two main reasons for this view. First, the authors are students and are learning how to be a professional. They should not be subjected to harsh public criticism during this learning process. Student authors should be given some leniency with regard to the quality of their work. Being called out in a negative light is overly harsh for a student writer. The letter is effectively the last word on the matter. The original author is not given the opportunity to respond to the criticism.

Second, the content and quality of Miami Student articles is the product of more than the author. One or more editors also review the work. When legitimate criticisms are made, the editorial staff shares part of the blame since they did not identify the article's deficiencies. I could argue that for a student publication, the editorial staff is equally responsible for an article's deficiencies.

Negative comments that are associated with one individual seem unfair. I therefore suggest that future critiques of regular, non-opinion articles omit the author's name.

Mike Zmuda