To print or not to print?

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October 28, 2008

4:03 PM

This blog begins a series of posts where Flat Hat editors will discuss their editorial decisions, student journalism and ethics issues affecting The Flat Hat.

Several Student Assembly members urged The Flat Hat last night not to print today’s article, “City may amend 3-Person ordinance” .

The story stemmed from a document provided to the newspaper by a source under the condition of anonymity. It was a proposal dated Oct. 6 that would amend the three-person rule, and it resulted from about six weeks worth of meetings and conversations between student and city leaders.

City leaders specifically asked SA members not to release details of the proposal to The Flat Hat, according to several SA sources, because they wanted to release the proposal publicly in early November, so that the student and local media would get the story simultaneously. That way, said several SA sources, city residents wouldn’t feel that students have the upper hand.

Last night, SA members said publishing today’s article would jeopardize the proposal’s chances.

But not publishing the story would have jeopardized The Flat Hat’s integrity.

This newspaper operates under a strict policy of not withholding news from the public. We allow exceptions to this rule only in matters of public safety, or when The Flat Hat agrees to an embargo before the information is released.

It is the newspaper’s responsibility to report the news to the public, no matter the political consequences. Our past editorials have supported amending the three-person rule, but that should not – and did not – factor into our news staff’s decision to run today’s story.

To start a dialogue between the The Flat Hat and the student body, we have created this blog, “From the newsroom,” where editors will explain decisions of the paper. And we’d love to hear your feedback. You can reach me at [email protected] or leave a comment.

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