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Old But Good News: D Muzzles Staff

I really don’t get The D. When people are 18-22 years of age, aren’t they supposed to be rebellious, energetic, disrespectful of authority (especially when it deserves to be disrespected) and animated by a desire for change. Whether that idea is true or not in general, it sure ain’t the case in Robinson Hall, where The D’s editors work hand in velvet glove with Parkhurst.

Look at the below memo, which was issued the day of Jim Kim’s nomination to the World Bank. I just received it. Just what exactly is wrong with D staffers having their own opinions about Kim’s precipitous flight from the Hanover Plain?

From: “Jonathan B. Webster”
Date: March 23, 2012
To: [mirror staff]
Cc: [D and mirror editors]
Subject: President Kim’s nomination

Hi Mirror staff!

As most of you know by now, our own President Jim Yong Kim has been nominated by President Obama to be the next president of the World Bank. This is very exciting news for Dartmouth, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you that The D will be reporting on this extensively over the coming months

As such, I would just like to remind you that as staff members of Dartmouth’s student newspaper, your opinions must be private, not publicly displayed — it is essential that we remain impartial, and this includes all staffers. Please keep your perspectives on his nomination out of your Facebook statuses, Twitter and the like, and obviously you are not allowed to speak with any news sources about this. If you are approached by any reporters, please decline and direct them to Emily.

Thanks guys, and I look forward to a great Spring term with you all!

Jay

Addendum: It has even been reported to me that The D’s staffers are regularly ordered not to read Dartblog nor communicate in any way with the blog’s esteemed lead writer.

Addendum: A Dartmouth grad student writes in to set me straight:

Mr. Asch,

Regarding your recent post about The D’s editors “muzzling” their staff concerning Dr. Kim’s World Bank nomination:

I used to work in the news business (at the Eagle Times, a small paper in Claremont, NH), and things like this are fairly normal protocol, and hardly unique to The D. We had a policy similar to The D’s at the Eagle, and at the campus paper of my undergrad school, the Rowan University Whit. It is considered to be important to give the appearance of impartiality if you are a journalist; this was one of the first rules I learned in journalistic ethics. Any newsroom worth their salt will have it specifically written in their handbook that its reporters and editors are not to comment publicly on news-related events, especially an event said reporter or editor may be covering.

As I read the memo, it appears to me that The D’s editors wanted all of their staff to be aware that The D had to appear neutral in its reporting - not pro-Jim Kim or anti-Jim Kim. It’s a fairly typical memo that goes out to any kind of news staff; I got plenty of them during my time in the business.

W.R. Benash
MALS grad student

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