Letter from the Editor: The Maneater aims for equal coverage, welcomes feedback
May. 07, 2010
In its 55-year history, The Maneater has been a tireless advocate for diversity and social justice issues, and our editorials have reflected that stance. The Maneater has also always encouraged feedback regarding ways to improve our coverage and better uphold our status as the student voice of MU.
In the pages of our Forum section, in the last three weeks alone, we’ve called for the UM system to include gender identity and expression in its non-discrimination policy, we’ve asked the Board of Curators to adopt same-sex domestic partner benefits for employees and we have spoken out against public institutions funding groups that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community.
Sean Nahlik’s letter to the editor in Tuesday’s issue of the paper regarding The Maneater’s coverage of social justice issues and minority groups brought up important issues but also contained factual inaccuracies. It’s true The Maneater does not and cannot cover all events for which students feel passionate. There will always be room for improvement in our coverage of minority student groups, but one cannot say The Maneater hasn’t designated a significant portion of its coverage to issues and events regarding social justice, especially in the last few months.
Nahlik’s claim that the number of articles in The Maneater regarding student government vastly outnumbers those that have focused on minority groups is disproven by a glance back at our news section in the last few months. Of the 95 stories reported in The Maneater’s news section in the last month, not including today’s issue, 12 have focused on issues or events pertaining to social justice or minority groups, 12 looked at Greek Life, eight covered the Missouri Students Association and three covered the Residence Halls Association. In March, 16 stories focused on issues or events regarding social justice and diversity, eight on Greek Life, seven on MSA and three on RHA.
We realize that numbers alone can’t speak to the effectiveness of coverage, but there are several aspects Maneater editors consider when determining newsworthiness. The amount of students affected by an issue or event is one of the main factors, which often leads to prominent coverage of student government, which represent all students, and Greek Life, which consists of 22 percent of the MU student body. The further-reaching effects of an issue also figure into its newsworthiness, which is why coverage of social justice and minorities is so important. The results of progress toward non-discrimination and social justice go beyond the students directly affected by them.
The Maneater has reached out to minority groups to recruit in the past, for example, sending editors to speak specifically to the National Association of Black Journalists during our recruitment efforts. We will not rest in our efforts to better represent minority students. Recent feedback on our coverage of minority and social justice issues and events has already prompted our editorial staff to compose a subject-by-subject breakdown of our news section’s coverage in the past year, but there’s always more that can be done.
In the future, we hope to receive more feedback on where The Maneater can improve its coverage. And in that time, we’ll continue to uphold our tradition of representing students.