In his rambling column, Chicago Weekly: Ethical Journalism Needed, on 4/18/06, Andrew Hammond uses one or two semi-relevant facts and a good deal of speculation to argue, without success, that the Chicago Weekly is an unethical work of journalism.
It was certainly a lapse of judgment for the Weekly to publish a photo of its Editor in Chief on the cover. However, as Hammond points out, there may well have been mitigating circumstances that forced them to do so. But then he assumeswithout bothering to investigate further and actually discover why the Weekly published the photothat the Weekly must not have had a good reason, and therefore, that they are unethical. That in itselfcriticism based on speculationis poor journalism.
Hammonds more serious concern is that the Weeklys self-proclaimed status as an independent student voice is negated by the fact that the Weekly is owned by Newcity. He points out, correctly, that newspapers are at their most vibrant when completely independent. But the Weekly is not alone among newspapers in being controlled by a larger organizationindeed, its in the majority, with most American newspapers being owned by holding companies such as Gannett or the late Knight-Ridder. The free Chicago weeklies Red Eye and Red Streak, for example, are owned by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, respectively, which themselves are owned by the Tribune Company and the Hollinger Corporation, respectively. And if the Maroon can operate out of the basement of a University building and still call itself an independent student newspaper, certainly the Weekly can be owned by Newcity and call itself an independent voice.
Finally, Hammond is quite upset that the Weekly is only four pages long. He oscillates between wanting the Weekly to be a direct competitor to the Maroona frequently published, comprehensive account of campus news and forum for discussion of campus issuesand realizing that its a niche publication. But he rejects the latter theory because he has been unable to find the niche. Well, to me, the niche is quite clearthe Chicago Weekly is a forum for offbeat personal essays and stories about life at the University of Chicago.
Its not a hard-hitting investigative broadsheet whose every move must be questioned as much as it questions everyone elses moves. It could be improved, but I still look forward to picking up my copy of it every week.
Likewise for the Maroon.
First-year in the College
Maroon news staff