Letter to the Editor

“Why don’t students read The Hurricane?” I’ve heard this question bounced around time and again. And, for the staff of The Hurricane, I think, I finally found your answer. It’s simple. Students do not read the Hurricane because this newspaper is often incorrect. From misquotes to false stories, the Hurricane’s got it all! So perhaps we can change the newspaper to an entertainment magazine, or perhaps after each article you could publish it’s margin of error. Those that do read your paper add the error factor anyway, so how about you make our lives a tad bit easier and do that for us! Now that would be something.

Some may be wondering where I get off saying what I am clearly saying. And before you huff and puff, read on. I have been quoted in The Hurricane a few times in the past two years. I have been in many articles where my words have been twisted around to be, perhaps, a more amusing read for the audience. The Hurricane has managed to make me sound like everything from a suicide bomber to a faculty hater. Just last week, I was one of the students in “Speak Up”. Not only was the question that was printed not the question I was asked, but funnier still was that my answer was not even what I said. Now that’s comedy… it’s like our own National Enquirer on campus… but wait The Hurricane isn’t an entertainment paper… or is it?

Reconstructing one’s sentences amounts to altering their views. For example, changing “If such and such” to “Because such and such” becomes what is called falsification of information. It is not just a gross error, it is shoddy journalism on top, irresponsible, and in my mind, unforgiveable. The United States courts apply the rules of libel and slander rather loosely. But this is not grounds for our University paper to become involved in miscontruing the truth, falsifying information in the manner of a tabloid or making “slight editing changes” to change an “if” to a “because.” In the microcosmic world of a University, one cannot simply disappear into the crowd, which is why the journalism has to be even better than in the real-world.

Someone said to me: “Why are you upset? So what if they portray things incorrectly, no one really reads The Hurricane anyway.” I’m upset because at the university level we have a more room to do some serious journalism. In today’s media one only gets the truth that CNN, NBC, or ABC want us to get. So does that mean we all move overseas and watch the BBC? No. The Hurricane has the opportunity of being free from the interest-based journalism plaguing our country. This, however, requires a commitment to truth rather than controversy; an allegiance to facts and not falsehood. Students want to read the truth, not a version of it blended in the hyperbolic imagination of an inexperienced writer.

Before I sign this I would like to state that I have applied for a writers position at the Hurricane, hopefully you all will have me. And better yet, hopefully my editors will take the time and effort to double-check my facts.

Thank you,

Najia Hussain