Will a negative story be allowed to run in a high school newspaper?
As a high school journalist, you have developed several sources of information about the football camp held each year at your school. You hear that brutal hazing is part of athletes’ initiation to the team. Investigating further, you learn that new players are subject to various humiliations and assaults, sometimes with broomsticks, electrical cords and socks stuffed with tennis balls.
This is a big, important story. Kids are being hurt. You work hard to get your facts right and spend a great deal of effort checking and double-checking your sources. Your newspaper’s adviser supports you and your work. But when you are ready to publish the story in the school newspaper, the principal says you can’t run it unless you make substantial changes. You must eliminate a player’s comments and add a prepared statement from the football coach. The coach also says this is “negative journalism” and wants you to hold the story until after the playoffs.
What do you do?
A.Drop the story. You know you’ve done a good job, but if the principal won’t let you run the story as you have prepared it, you won’t run it at all.
B.Wait until after the playoffs, as the coach requests, and then print the story according to the principal’s requirements: Drop the player’s comments and run the football coach’s statement. At least some of the information you have uncovered will come out.
C.Print the story as your principal demands, by dropping the player’s comments and running the football coach’s statement. But add an editor’s note at the end of the story, explaining that school officials, including the coach, reviewed the story and insisted that changes be made to it before it was published.
D.Your own solution to the dilemma. Be specific.