Editorial staff addresses personal biases

Editorial staff addresses personal biases

As we have addressed in previous editorials, the state of journalism is in crisis.

With the rising number of platforms through which information is communicated to us — in conjunction with the spreading threat of fake news and “alternative facts” — it has become increasingly difficult for us as consumers of the media to sift through the large amount of information transmitted to us.

This problem is only further enhanced by the current politically tense environment and the media coverage of the 2016 presidential election, which have driven many of us to only seek the media outlets that confirm our preexisting biases. As news outlets become more polarized, they take stances on the institutions and actions of others in which they are supposed to neutrally report.

This has led to a mass rejection of journalism as an institution and widespread critiques lobbied against different media organizations.

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Yet these critiques have not been solely expressed on the national level. We have heard them here on our own campus about our own paper. Through direct emails, overhearing comments in the Pit and various comments on our articles, we have been criticized for reporting through too liberal of a lens.

In this climate and as others question us, we as the editorial staff of the Old Gold & Black find it compulsory to reflect on our own biases and lenses. In other words, we find it compulsory to critique ourselves.

We acknowledge that we each have our own biases. All 16 members of our board fall on the wide range of the ideological spectrum. While there are members that align more liberally, these individuals are balanced out by their more moderate and conservative peers, creating a microcosm of Wake Forest itself in our newsroom. We work to hold each other accountable to our goal of accomplishing independent, unbiased reporting.

We believe one of the roots of this problem is the lack of conservative-minded writers featured in our Opinion section each week. We care to publicly state that this is not intentional. What we publish in the Opinion section is based on what students send to us, as explained on the first page of the section.

Despite this challenge, we are still committed to our century-long goals. The reason our publication has existed for over 100 years is due in part to the acceptance and respect we have long held from the Wake Forest community as a deliverer of fair, captivating news.

However, in order to pursue our goals, the Old Gold & Black editorial board seeks continued acceptance of our production from the public. This informal relationship between the press and those who read it is based on the importance of informed criticism to hold us accountable of our biases, while also respecting the sanctity of our organization. This has been our view since the first editorial written in January, 1916. 

“Consider, for instance, the enormous proportions which our little print may assume… thus we place our case before a public which is not, we hope, too critical, a public at whose hands we have every reason to expect sympathy, encouragement, cooperation.” As published in the first Old Gold & Black editorial in January of 1916, Volume 1 Issue 1.

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