I Would Like To Have a Moment of Realness

No doubt, any and all graduates have been following the press fanfare surrounding Sandy Ungar‘s decision to ban former Professor Munyakazi from campus.It’s a regrettable situation, it’s a low-blow to Goucher, and it got me thinking about how the press approaches news reporting today.

Image courtesy of News Literacy Conference

Leopold Munyakazi. Image courtesy of Cleveland.com

In his personal writeup in the New York Times, Ungar states that is was a difficult decision for him to make:

“But that wasn’t the end of it for me. I couldn’t shake the feeling that in our embrace of Leopold and in our eagerness to act on our principles, we had ourselves been somewhat naïve—so sure of our own grand purpose that we neglected to investigate the hazardous moral environment we were parachuting into. I very much wanted to believe that I could sort out the story myself, after the fact, almost as an act of absolution. Doing so would restore my own confidence as well as Goucher’s dignity; it would also show that the tools of free inquiry we believed in were still themselves sharp, and of use. I hoped.”

Since his write up, a plethora of negative comments been left on Ungar’s article, and responses from major news and personal blogs begun to come to light.

One in particular, from , a African-American who grew up in Central and Western Africa, addresses the president in an open letter, encouraging others to do the same.

Another, a ‘blacklist’ by Alex Constantine (no information on that author was available) details various statements made in support of Munyakazi.

In a write-up by Kitsune-Das (who looks to be a current student at Goucher), the author laments the negative impact this entire ordeal has had on the Goucher community, Munyakazi, and Ungar.

As I read articles written by major news sources about colleges and universities, I can’t help but wonder if they have broken loose from their original purpose if informing the people, and strayed into the swampy badlands of tabloid hype and classic ‘gotcha’ journalism. Perhaps with the emergence of digital tabloids such as PerezHilton and Buzzfeed traditional news has sought to ‘youthen up’ by appealing to younger audiences by Jerry Springer-ing themselves. Just as news sources were all too ready to lead the attack on Penn State, TCU, and UNC for their athletic scandals, it would seem that these news sources were equally itching to pounce on Goucher.

It just makes me wonder sometimes what the projected path of our journalistic sources will be, and if this new desire to ‘gotcha’ our prided college institutions is the next frontier. What happened to the days of writing pridefully about college graduates who have achieved greatness and focusing more on fully supported facts, rather than fishy half-baked accusations?

Are we transitioning to a full-blown tabloid society where news isn’t news if it isn’t a scandal?

Tell me in the comments below:

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