‘The truth is all that matters:’ Last advice from the Chief Copy Editor

Thomas Gleaton

Chief Copy Editor

Someone once said: “No one ever gets into journalism to be liked.”

As much as we want to be accepted by peers or colleagues, sometimes that cannot happen. There will always be that one person who just doesn’t like you for one reason or another.

The way I see it, it’s the job of journalists to separate the facts from the opinions as well as themselves. Our previous editor-in-chief, Chase Robinson, once told me to just write my story in chronological order—whatever twists or spins the story would reveal themselves naturally.

That is not to say we should ever twist or spin stories here. On the contrary: no matter what we think of a major decision or event, it is not our job to comment outside of the opinion section.

The truth is all that matters. As a whole, people complain about media bias, when the truth is that media aren’t looking to twist your mind, they’re looking for views.

Case in point: the Panama City Beach sexual assault case was televised nationally on CNN, and they called Grishma Rimal and myself to speak with them. When we told them this was a rare thing, suddenly those students’ voices weren’t necessary.

I watched the segment, and it was clear that CNN didn’t care about the students. Instead, they showed a psychologist who condemned beach parties as if only the devil himself held them.

CNN wanted views, and they knew that an international student and a pasty white guy weren’t going to get enough views for them. In doing so, they misrepresented our university as a whole.

I want CNN to issue an apology I know for certain will never come.

The truth is that people make mistakes, and people in power should be criticized for making those mistakes. However, should they make every effort to make it right, people in power should not be lambasted.

I’ve made enemies, I’m sure, in my efforts to dig up information. James Bookout, the senior vice chancellor of finance and business affairs, and his secretary, Abby Dauphin, are probably sick of reading my name in their inboxes from when I’ve asked for the university’s fiscal year budget summary book.

I apologize. I didn’t know how to be more specific.

We’ve roasted our SGA time and again for their decisions. Heath Barton is a friend of mine, and though I don’t agree with the senate’s decisions all the time, I think they do the best job they can in representing student interests.

This is the part where it seems like I’m starting to kiss up in order to twist the story into some kind of sappy ending, but that isn’t the case.

That budget book should be public information, and as an on-campus student, I’m insulted when higher-ups insinuate that all students are lazy.

Those statements alone will probably get an angry email or two now, but that’s fine.

To the Trop staff leaving with me: you were good co-workers and great friends. Thank you for everything.

To the Trop staff I leave behind: don’t make promises you can’t keep; don’t sacrifice your ethics for clicks, views or hits; and don’t ever go against your better judgment. Don’t twist a story or ruin a reputation for the sake of it—the truth is all that matters.

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