Editor speaks out about controversial news story

Kara Protasio, [email protected], is a junior mass media major.

Last week’s issue of the Review received a lot of attention regarding the “Washburn settles Bearman lawsuit” story written by Adam Vlach. It isn’t often that our staff gets to cover hard news. However, this was hard news and it needed to be covered because it is important to our campus. 

I would like to first apologize for the captions under our photos. They were extremely inapproriate and  made light of a serious situation My copy editors and I take full responsibility for not catching them before submitting the page.

I also believe that the cutlines made the story biased and for that, I do apologize. Adam did not write the cutlines and was not involved with the design of the page.

When Adam was assigned his story, he was given many suggestions on who to interview for the story. He did everything to talk to several people; however, Adam had trouble getting many people to interview. This is unfortunate for several reasons. First of all, sources don’t always get back to a reporter no matter how hard they try to get ahold of them.

This creates a problem because then the sources have some control over the story and the lack of information in it. In this case, it made the story seem biased. It was unfortunate that more sources responded to the negative side of the story than the positive. 

I also want to point out that our reporters do have deadlines. Adam submitted his drafts of his story and we gave him suggestions on who else would be good to get interviews with that would add to his story. He took our suggestions and continued to try and get information from those sources. 

Adam did have some trouble, though, with the school administration. Yes, we understand that there are legal obligations involved with this story. However, we want to know the thoughts of our administration about the situation because our university was being sued. We feel that Washburn has hardly acknowledged the situation at all. I understand that it might not put our college in the best light, but the way it was handled makes it feel like it didn’t happen.

I would also like to say that Adam worked with and collaborated with Tim Hrenchir, the reporter from the Capital-Journal who initially broke the story when Michelle Canipe filed the lawsuit. Adam’s story does include information that was in Hrenchir’s original story. Adam used this information, with Hrenchir’s permission, to give readers background information about allegations made by Canipe.   

This story was also a very general story. There will be some follow-up stories coming in our last two issues of the paper because it is a big topic with several components. 

So again, I want to sincerely apologize for the cutlines. I hope in the future more sources will be more available and work with our reporters.