Editorial Response

by Abe Asher & Patrick M.

Starting early on the morning of Culture Shock, and continuing through the entirety of last week, the Aardvark Dig came under scrutiny and pressure from several corners considering two stories published two weeks ago.

The first was an article about the change in the OES campus nut policy by Graham O., and the second, as you know, a satirical and humorous article about French culture by Johnny S.

We screwed up. On the first article, we tried to straddle a line between humor and information. We ended up confusing and upsetting people. Having no idea how extensive the work on the change in the school’s nut policy was, we ran a piece without the due diligence that the situation required.

On the second piece, we stepped into dangerous territory by scrutinizing another culture, just a day before Culture Shock. Some of the language in that piece was incendiary. We apologize to anyone who was offended.

Of course, the vast majority of you were not offended by either piece. You saw them for what they were. It was just a few people who became upset. But there was enough outrage, with enough fury — from people in our community who matter to us — that this situation needed an editorial response.

We didn’t do a good enough job, and are going to learn from these experiences. Going forward, we will double down on care and caution regarding what we publish, and how we publish it.

But we also want to take this moment to outline several of the things that we feel are important to understanding what The Dig is all about.

This is a unique venture. It is a student-run newspaper in a school that, most feel, is sorely lacking independent student voices willing to test the official line. We are lucky enough to have editorial independence, which means mistakes, but also a product that matters.

It’s gotten us in trouble before. It will again. But, with support from Kara and Jordan, we will keep going.

By now, you all should know what this paper is about. Humor — especially sarcasm, irreverence, and deadpan — is omnipresent. When reading this publication — as almost all of you are doing, thanks for your continued support! — please, please, PLEASE remember that.

As well as entertaining, we want to start, add to, and inform discussions. When you disagree with us, it’s absolutely vital to maintain civility, respect, and perspective. We are keen to avoid incivility and want to remain above the fray.

Please, leave comments. Write responses. We happily accept submissions from anyone in the OES community: students, faculty, or staff. We will not, however, pull a story that we have published just because you want us to.

We pulled Graham’s story because it wasn’t properly reported. We are standing by Johnny’s for a number of reasons, but mostly because we do not feel that there are sufficient grounds for removing it.

The last ten days have been incredibly stressful for a number of our staff and our advisor. These are the growing pains of a successful operation. We can all do better, but now we want to get back to doing what we do best: Writing our stories. We have a great batch this week, and look forward to continuing the conversation. Thank you for reading.

2 thoughts on “Editorial Response

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful response. I agree wholeheartedly and look forward to future conversations started by the staff’s reporting.

  2. I appreciate your responding to the concerns the articles raised. On the other hand , saying that “the vast majority of you were not offended by either piece. You saw them for what they were” suggests that the supposed minority were wrong about their (In my opinion perfectly reasonable) issues with both. Presumably not everyone who had issues with tone or content of the articles spoke up – so not really possible to know what “a majority ” felt, and “what they were” is , of course, subjective,not objective. Thanks for engaging with important issues of voice and controversial topics. Debby Schauffler

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