The reason for these photocopied papers were made clear by a few tweets we received during the day. Apparently, a handful of students were upset about our choice of article for the front page. Our front-page article was about Spring Day and how students will need student cards to enter the festival in September. This article made the front page instead of the story about the UP philosophy lecturer who resigned after she was accused of making racist comments on the website Praag.
According to this group, the fact that we placed Spring Day over the lecturer means that we are sweeping racism under the rug and are supporting institutionalised racism.
I would like to clarify how the one article was placed over the other. We send the newspaper to our printers on Friday evenings. This means that all our content and layout needs to be completed before Friday night. We only found out about the lecturer story on Friday morning, about the same time that the story broke on mainstream media, such as Times Live and Mail and Guardian.
Our news editor started looking into the story on Friday morning. When the article went to print we had the facts we could gather and a response from the university. It would have been inappropriate for us to embellish any of those facts in order to make the article long enough for a front-page story. And despite what this group is saying, the Spring Day story is important and concerns more people. Imagine if your friend bought tickets to Spring Day only to be turned away because they are not UP students or do not have a student card with them?
The other issue I have is how the group went about it. People are not always happy with how the media reports on stories, but there is a proper way to address your concerns. The group printed something and distributed it around the HB without any sign of who they are on the paper.
Added to this, they seem to be under the impression that we are the problem. How are we to blame for this incident and how is it our fault that students are not reading news? I also do not understand how they can blame us for silencing racism claims. If we did not publish anything on the story, then maybe I could understand.
In other news, this week we have a features article on the whole selfies phenomenon on page 13. And we were at Homecoming Picnic. Our coverage of the event is on page 5. You will also find our interview with Gangs of Ballet on pages 8 and 9.
We put this edition together last Thursday because of the Varsity Student Newspaper Conference in Cape Town. Our editorial team is really excited about this and we are hoping to learn from other student newspapers while we are there.
This is also the last edition for this quarter. Our next edition will be coming out on 7 October. So I hope you all have a fantastic holiday.
Until next time,