JOURNALISM JUGGERNAUT: What led Northwestern U. student paper to fold
- The Northwestern University student newspaper faced scrutiny from activists for taking pictures of them protesting a Jeff Sessions event.
- One student tweeted: “Really sincerely, if you care about your f**king “objectivity” or “story” or “duty” more than human in the stories, f**k you.”
The Daily Northwestern student newspaper has come under immense criticism for the way it reported on the protests surrounding the Jeff Sessions lecture on Nov. 5 at Northwestern University, with some deciding to aggressively go after the newspaper and reporters online.
Following coverage of the protests, The Daily issued an apology for various aspects of its reporting, which included taking down photos of protesters which were deemed by the people protesting as "retraumatizing and invasive,” as Campus Reform previously covered.
Notably, Northwestern journalism student Dylan Gresik, who attended the Sessions event, told Campus Reform that those same protestors who didn’t want to be photographed were taking video and pictures of people leaving the event. Additionally, the students protesting the event were “yelling, chanting, and pounding” outside of the building where the event was hosted.
During and after the event, reporters from The Daily received an onslaught of hostile tweets as a result of reporting on the protest.
“It’s disgusting that you’re posting photos where protesters' faces are fully visible alongside a MAGA hat wearer whose face is invisible. you are protecting a white supremacist. you are disrespectful and irresponsible for publicizing protesters' faces without their consent,” one person claiming to go to Northwestern tweeted.
When pushed on the issue, the student tweeted that if a journalist is photographing violence and chooses to take pictures of the incident “with intent to commodify and use it to further your journalism career, then you are irresponsible and a piece of shit honestly.”
One reporter for The Daily, Cameron Cook, urged other journalists not to take pictures of students at the protest when their faces are visible.
“HELLO if you’re a journalist/journalism student who covered the jeff sessions protest PLEASE don’t share photos/video where students’ faces are visible. Chances are they could face repercussions or conduct action,” she tweeted.
Responding to photojournalist Colin Boyle, who took pictures at the protest for The Daily, Nikki McDaid-Morgan, a Ph.D. student at Northwestern, said that his reporting was “irresponsible and harmful.”
“Your bias is showing. Your coverage here is not really accurate or fair to those protesting. I take issue with who you are centering, how you are wording these posts, and what you are leaving out,” she tweeted. “Irresponsible and harmful student reporting like this as well as the unprofessional and aggressive demeanor of some student reporting at the event is giving @MedillSchool a bad name, at least among student activists.”
Another student claimed that The Daily’s work caused her to be “stalked” and the student newspaper was right in issuing an apology.
“I should not have to wear a bandanna at a protest to protect myself from attacks by alt-right and sanctions by administration. I should have the freedom of speech to protest WITHOUT being stalked because my picture is plastered all over the internet.@thedailynu did what was right,” she tweeted.
After being cited in an op-ed by The Washington Post, a different student made their account private, but previously expressed that the incident reminded her of why she changed majors.
“Journalism kids here remind me every day that I made the right decision to leave medill [sic]. Really sincerely, if you care about your fucking 'objectivity' or 'story' or 'duty' more than human in the stories, fuck you,” she tweeted.
Follow the author of this story on Twitter: @asabes10