Home CommentaryEditorial Journalism for the sake of sensationalism is not our cup of tea

Journalism for the sake of sensationalism is not our cup of tea

by The Concordian November 5, 2013
Journalism for the sake of sensationalism is not our cup of tea

The Concordian strives to be a publication of integrity, which is why we have chosen not to publish photos which portray members of a certain student association allegedly using illegal substances.

The Concordian does not deal in “yellow journalism.” Yellow journalism places the focus on articles that are “sensational.” These types of articles are most often given prominence in tabloid magazines.

It is our belief that to publish such a photo would not serve a legitimate purpose. Although the picture in question involves members of a Concordia student association, we have confirmed that funds from the student association were not used to purchase said illegal substances, nor does the association condone the partaking of these substances. Furthermore, the photos were taken at an event that took place off-campus and which did not involve the university.

What people choose to do in their personal time is not our concern and, although publishing such a photo may titillate our readers, it would only serve to humiliate and hurt those involved.

Although we recognize the importance of the governance of student associations,  we do not feel as though their personal choices need to be publicized so long as their choices do not affect their promises to the student community they serve.

This issue brings to mind the current mayoral debacle in Toronto. Toronto Police have informed the public that they are in possession of a video which shows Mayor Rob Ford using a crack pipe. Since reports of this video first surfaced, the public has been titillated by this story, amused no doubt by the embarrassment the city of Toronto is enduring on account of the alleged disreputable behavior of their Mayor. However, the fact remains that the video is not absolute proof that Mr.Ford has partaken of crack cocaine. A photo or video can be misleading in that it does not present the whole truth of the situation.

Yes, Mr. Ford is a public figure;yes, these alleged actions reflect negatively on his city and yes, the activity in question is illegal. However, is there a purpose being served by disseminating this information?

The allegation that Mr. Ford has partaken of illegal substances has not affected his approval ratings. His council has lost faith in him, but not the public. Therefore, the publication of Mr. Ford’s alleged drug use has served only to embarrass him and Toronto.

There is no evidence that suggests that Mr. Ford is a regular crack cocaine user. There has been no indication that Mr. Ford’s job performance has been affected by the one alleged incidence of him with a crack pipe. All that can be gleaned from this is that Mr. Ford made a mistake. Ultimately, we tend to expect better from our elected representatives but these people are human and do make mistakes.

What should determine the worth of an elected official is their record in office, not what activities they may partake of in their free time.

Since it is our belief that the revelation of video evidence alleging a single instance of Mr. Ford using drugs has not served a worthwhile purpose, so too do we believe that publicizing the use of illegal substances by student association members in their free time is not worthwhile. That being said, we will remain vigilant. If it is discovered that these elected representatives are behaving in ways which would shed a negative light on Concordia and its student associations, then we will report it to our readers.


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