How do we put this nicely?
MTL Blog is essentially a low-grade, local tabloid that uses clickbait tactics to attract readers to their site. There’s no denying their popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years, with more than 200,000 likes on their Facebook page—but their content quality has plummeted just as quickly.
This past week, the website released two lists featuring the “hottest” women and men at Concordia, using Instagram photos to populate these lists. The stories immediately drew criticism on social media, with multiple users commenting that it was “creepy” and “objectifying.”
The Concordian agrees with these comments, and our staff was shocked that these articles got the greenlight. Why is a local ‘news’ website discussing the physical appearances of our student body? This is an institution of higher learning—our students should be praised for their intelligence or accomplishments, not their physical appeal. The blatant objectification of these men and women feels like a scene straight out of Mean Girls.
Users on social media were also commenting that many of the individuals featured in the two lists reportedly had no idea their photos were being used. The writer never messaged them to ask for their consent, instead, they simply embedded photo posts from the students’ Instagram accounts.
Although not asking to use photos from social media technically doesn’t break any copyright laws, it’s ethically courteous, as a journalist and as a kind human being, to ask permission to use someone’s photo—especially before it’s made visible to thousands of readers. One of our editors briefly interned with one of the ex-writers of MTL Blog last summer, and was disturbed to discover that this is common practice at their headquarters.
The Concordian is calling upon MTL Blog to consider removing these two articles immediately and to seriously reexamine their publishing guidelines.
We also call upon the student body to fully boycott the website until they have taken down these two stories.
Update: As of Sept. 23, the posts described in this article were removed from MTL Blog.