Through the Editor’s Eyes: Inside the Press Room for Today’s Feature Story
This editorial discusses the article linked here.
Because of the nature of this article, I think it is necessary to include an editorial explaining the discussions that took place in our offices during the development of this article. For starters, it is important to explain that this article was only able to be constructed in the short time we were given because of the work of an entire investigation team. While my name appears as the byline, Erin Gingerich, Managing Editor; Brad Kroner, Editor-in-Chief elect; and Jordan Jones, Managing Editor elect, conducted additional research and interviews while Nick DeMichelle, Design Manager, spent extra time working on creating a design that emphasized the key messages of the article.
As far as the content of the article goes, Jerica Bennett was given the option to have her name withheld from the article as we see it as our responsibility to protect the identities of victims when cases such as this arise. Bennett chose to have her name not be kept confidential as she now views herself as an advocator for the rights of victims of sexual assault as evident by the charity Peacocks in Pearls (see article by Kelly Bean) which she founded.
While Bennett was okay with her name being published, we never made contact or attempted to contact the accused party. His name is not included in the report, even though it appears on the legal documents, because the most serious allegations against him were not proven in court, and we saw his identity as irrelevant to the focus of this article. Overall, the goal of this article is to draw attention to the Title IX complaint filed against FSU, and the reasons for which is was filed. As such, only Bennett’s account of how her case was handled was relevant.
On another regard, I am fully aware there will be individuals on this campus who support The Bottom Line for taking on this issue and there will individuals who criticize us for publishing a topic of this nature. I have had individuals make complaints to us before for running pieces that are potentially embarrassing for the university. As with all previous cases, my response to those claims does not change. The mission of The Bottom Line is to serve as the voice of the students. When an issue is presented to us that has a direct impact on the life of students, it is our duty to the campus community to publish the details and empower the student voice.
I am also aware that the timing of the publication for this piece may receive negative reviews as it is the end of the semester, graduation is approaching, and this is the last print edition of the newspaper. However, the timing of this article was out of our control. The OCR just released the list of institutions being investigated on May 1, and until that point, we were unaware of any pending investigations.
As with any piece of material we publish, The Bottom Line is always open to the comment and criticism of the campus community. Should you wish to contact us, you may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.