After students at Northwestern University complained about pictures from an event featuring former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the editors of the campus paper, the Northwestern Daily, apologized for its coverage of the event
Sessions spoke at the university last week and the Daily covered the event and the protesters who attended.
However, when some of the protesters saw the pictures circulating on social media, they complained that they were “retraumatizing and invasive,” leading editors of the paper to apologize.
“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.”
The apology noted that the “retraumatizing” pictures had been taken down.
“One area of our reporting that harmed many students was our photo coverage of the event. Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive. Those photos have since been taken down. On one hand, as the paper of record for Northwestern, we want to ensure students, administrators and alumni understand the gravity of the events that took place Tuesday night. However, we decided to prioritize the trust and safety of students who were photographed.”
The move drew swift criticism from journalists who noted that Northwestern is known for its Medill School of Journalism.
The student newspaper at Northwestern, home to one of the most prestigious journalism schools in the country, has issued a groveling apology for…doing journalism, during & after Jeff Sessions’ speech on campus. As a proud alum, I’m embarrassed by this: https://t.co/ggEPyXU8n5— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 11, 2019
There’s a lot to comment on in this Daily Northwestern editorial, but apologizing for contacting people to ask if they’re willing to be interviewed? Regretting that you photographed protesters protesting in public? https://t.co/2GmEF4ZyZq— Gregory Pratt (@royalpratt) November 11, 2019
In appalling ignorance of the basics of news-gathering, a Northwestern student newspaper:— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) November 12, 2019
-apologies for taking photos of students protesting Jeff Sessions
-and for using the student directory to text students to ask if they wanted to be interviewed.https://t.co/WqceMiVLlH
Students at the most prestigious journalism program in the country, to activists: So sorry for covering news that offended you, we promise to do better. https://t.co/usZDy3IzTN— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) November 12, 2019
-Harvard would like the Crimson to stop reaching out to objectionable entities for comment.— Jesse Eisinger (@eisingerj) November 12, 2019
-Northwestern would like reporters not to reach people at all. Too invasive. https://t.co/Z1tpiKqwAr
Editor in Chief of the Daily, Tony Closson, defended the apology to The Washington Post saying, “Something we thought about a lot this week is how challenging it is to be student journalists who are reporting about other students.”
The news of the Daily’s apology comes just after Harvard’s Undergraduate Council voted to condemn The Crimson over its decision to reach out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for a comment on a story.