What I am going to write about is Jake Sherman--the editor-in-chief of The Hatchet--responding to Sarah, who chided The Hatchet for not going deep enough into the story.
It's funny that he opens by calling Sarah's post "horribly off base" considering how absolutely condescending his piece is. Here we have a GW student--and a consumer of The Hatchet--raising legitimate concerns about that paper's reporting practices, and what's the official response? Basically, "you crazy bloggers don't know how hard it is to run a real newspaper."
I don’t need to say that condescending to your readers isn’t a great way to show off your integrity and credibility as a news source.
Despite what Jake says, The Hatchet dropped the ball. Instead of writing a thorough piece investigating the event at HellWell from all angles, instead of searching for and reporting the objective the truth--which is what they teach you to do in journalism class--the reporter talked to just two sources and called it a day.
Jake's excuse that "[e]ssentially there is one person who can speak for the University so answers often take hours, days and more time than we have to turn a story around" is missing the point. First, if a University source isn't willing to talk--or doesn't get a statement into The Hatchet in time--they should at least note in the article that attempts to contact further sources are made. If we can't get thorough investigative journalism from The Hatchet, we should get an assurance that they at least tried to be thorough. And there are plenty of other sources they could have talked to--as Sarah said, this incident didn't involve just two people. Saying something along the lines that "other sources aren't allowed to talk" isn't enough. Did The Hatchet at least try talking to other people? Were they told by potential sources that they couldn't say anything? Or did they just refuse to speak to anyone, assuming that nobody would talk (an assumption that's already been proven false)?
This isn't the first instance of shoddy journalism on the part of The Hatchet this year. Do I even need to bring up the swastika fiasco? In that case--as with the HellWell story--the reporters covering the story failed to dig deep enough, to investigate enough, to get to the truth and report it fairly and honestly. Instead, they took what turned out to be a dubious source at her word without any corroboration. That's what makes the HellWell story so disturbing--it represents the same failure of journalism we've seen so far this year in The Hatchet.
But all of this just illustrates why GW Blogspot exists. No news outlet is perfect--when they make mistakes, someone needs to hold them accountable. People have to be held responsible for the things they say. And that's exactly what we do here.