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UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

UNF's #1 Student-Run News Source

UNF Spinnaker

Letter to the Editor: A Plea for Professionalism

Ryan Traher, courtesy of the Swoop Squad

I’m taking your advice from last week’s editorial to recommend ways in which the Spinnaker can improve. I love the Spinnaker. As a communication major and former newspaper writer, I can honestly say I enjoy reading the Spinnaker on a weekly basis. But I grow tired of defending the Spinnaker to my fellow students for their constant, yet justified, criticisms of our school’s newspaper.

So I sincerely request the Spinnaker endeavor for the more professional journalistic etiquette reflected by the Pacemaker award given three years ago, recognizing it as one of the best student newspapers in the nation. Specifically, I notice painfully obvious subjectivity and perpetual desire to stir up controversy or dissatisfaction with the university, the administration and Student Government.

A recent example of this shows in “Senate split over spring election voting changes” posted online Jan. 29, and the corresponding print editorial “Kill the Bill” in the Jan. 30 issue. Besides the headline inaccurately suggesting half of the senators incapable of compromise, both the news story and editorial alluded carelessness or malicious intent. Why did the news article only quote fragments from the bill’s discussion and fail to include of an interview with one of the senators? The article highlights only the negative aspects of the event, without a single comment of why senatorsapproved the bill and the amendment with it. This is slipshod journalism at best.

The Spinnaker insults me, my fellow student representatives and its readers when it suggests the Senate does not have the students’ best interest at heart. I cannot speak for the Senate as a whole, but I know I am not the only one who listens to my constituents and works tirelessly in their interests. Hold us accountable. But do so fairly, rather than appearing to be on a mission to spawn contempt within the student body. We want students to join our discussions, not develop learned helplessness or complacent outrage. This serves no one and runs counter to supporting a strong democracy.

Journalists possess immense responsibility. The responsibility to keep the public informed. Part of those responsibilities include developing equal and opposing sources to present a balanced argument. It also means doing due diligence to avoid fact errors, conducting the proper research and background work to completely understand the topic and provide a clear report of an issue. Moreover, your editors should respect simple, proper AP style and grammar. I should never be distracted by a “there vs. their” error, or anything as asinine.

The type of reporting the Spinnaker practices mirrors that of MSNBC or Fox News – biased and unreliable. I am sure this is the last impression the Spinnaker want to make. So please, for the sake of keeping our student body informed, engage in more ethical and balanced journalism. If you do, your audience will grow and respect your reporting, more students will participate in the exchanging of ideas and those of us who support a free press won’t need to consistently argue on your behalf. Your professionalism will do that for us.


Ryan Traher

Communication Major

Student Government Senator

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