News and Commentary

Northwestern University Apologizes For Campus Newspaper Editorial Covering Jeff Sessions Event
eff Sessions, U.S. attorney general, speaks during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
Joe Buglewicz/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last week, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at a Northwestern University College Republicans event. The school newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, sent two reporters to cover the event – one to cover the event itself and another to report on the protesters outside.

The paper printed photos from the event, which necessarily included photos of the protesters. Students then complained, claiming they were not only traumatized by Sessions’ presence, but also re-traumatized after their photos appeared in the paper.

In an editorial published Sunday, the Daily apologized for covering a newsworthy event and for engaging in journalism. From the editorial:

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. We feel that covering traumatic events requires a different response than many other stories. While our goal is to document history and spread information, nothing is more important than ensuring that our fellow students feel safe — and in situations like this, that they are benefitting from our coverage rather than being actively harmed by it. We failed to do that last week, and we could not be more sorry.

The former Attorney General speaking is only a “traumatic event” in the minds of the students so brainwashed to believe that speech is violence and Republicans are literally trying to ensure their deaths. No Republican student would claim to feel unsafe or in need of therapy of Eric Holder spoke on campus.

The Daily also apologized for its journalism methods. The paper’s reporters used the Northwestern student directory to reach out to students via phone to see if they would want to be interviewed for an article.

“We recognize being contacted like this is an invasion of privacy, and we’ve spoken with those reporters — along with our entire staff — about the correct way to reach out to students for stories,” the paper’s editorial staff wrote.

The paper also claimed that naming students put them at risk for disciplinary action, even though the protest did not turn violent and no university in today’s outrage culture would dare discipline students for merely protesting.

“Ultimately, The Daily failed to consider our impact in our reporting surrounding Jeff Sessions,” the editorial staff wrote. “We know we hurt students that night, especially those who identify with marginalized groups.”

Going forward, the paper said it would take steps to ensure no student could ever feel hurt due to reporting. The paper’s staff said it would “work to balance the need for information and the potential harm our news coverage may cause.”

Finally, the editorial staff said it hoped it could “rebuild trust that we weakened or lost last week.”

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Northwestern University Apologizes For Campus Newspaper Editorial Covering Jeff Sessions Event