Giving Voice Through the Editorial Process

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Giving Voice Through the Editorial Process

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During a time when all journalistic endeavors are undeniably struggling, The Ram champions the inception of any outlet available to the Fordham community that can elevate its conversation.

We would like to welcome The Pamphlet to the diverse group of publications on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus. We hope it has success in its goal of providing a platform for views outside of the mainstream.

That being said, we do not agree that these voices have been stifled by The Ram.

As Fordham’s journal of record, The Ram looks to reflect the opinions of the Fordham community, including voices outside of the mainstream.

Our coverage includes hard news, sports, culture and opinion pieces from all corners of the political and intellectual spectrum. We believe our platform to be credible, effective and far-reaching for any voice that wishes to be heard.

However, we prioritize well-researched and well-argued claims, as all journalistic outlets should.

No article is ever rejected for publication based on the ethos of its contents. In no circumstance would an opinion article be cut because an editor disagrees with the opinion being argued.

Rather, we choose not to publish articles that contain weak theses, cite poor evidence or are deemed not up to par with the standards upheld by our century-long tradition.

A publication that hopes to establish a credible presence on our campus should follow these same journalistic practices.

Creating a hub for alternative thought on campus is a positive thing. Insinuating that this hub is necessary because its voices have been underserved by The Ram is not.

The Pamphlet identifies itself as a conservative publication, as well as a “student-run news outlet” and “opinion-based paper.” Distinguishing between objective news coverage and opinion/advocacy coverage is essential in serving a readership.

Advocacy journalism and opinion journalism are integral parts of the fabric of our modern media landscape. When abundantly clear in their leanings, outlets of this genre can greatly benefit the communities they serve.

However, ethical dilemmas arise when publications with leanings present themselves as unbiased news sources.

We urge those at The Pamphlet to be conscious of the perspectives they maintain and clearly differentiate their opinion-based work from any news coverage they pursue. We see these perspectives as an opportunity for the outlet to develop a more specialized and honed function on our campus, but only if they are presented responsibly.

In its first issue, The Pamphlet printed a falsehood about The Ram’s coverage that we would like to take a moment to address, regarding a free speech altercation involving the Fordham College Republicans and members of Rodrigue’s Club.

The Pamphlet article claimed that we at The Ram “steered clear of the [Rodrigue’s] altercation altogether” and “were too afraid to even enter the debate.”

The statement is factually inaccurate, as we published two news articles on the event and briefly touched upon it in an episode of Ramcast, our podcast.

We communicated the correction to editors at The Pamphlet, and they provided us with the below statement to be printed in this issue:

“On Monday March 11th, we proudly distributed our first edition of The Pamphlet. Later that day, we became aware that our editorial board made an error in our opening article titled “What is the Pamphlet?” In discussing on-campus coverage of the infamous Rod’s cafe incident from last year, we wrote that ‘the paper and The Fordham Ram steered clear of the altercation altogether.’

We were mistaken in using this specific phrase. Our intention was not to make the claim that these publications failed to provide any coverage of the incident or to condemn them in any way. Instead, our point was to demonstrate that Fordham lacks opinion-based coverage of controversial on-campus issues.

One of the many reasons we created The Pamphlet was to fill this void. If we could rephrase the sentence, we would say, ‘neither the paper nor The Fordham Ram published any opinion pieces about the Rod’s altercation.’ This revision would render the sentence true. We urge our readers to consider this correction as they engage with our opening article. We sincerely apologize for our error and would like to make clear that we have the utmost respect for the paper and The Fordham Ram.”

We appreciate the transparency and willingness from The Pamphlet in rectifying the mistake. We recognize that there is nothing worse than working hard on something with the best of intentions and then finding an error after you go to print.

The Ram would also like to acknowledge the particular incident and its lack of op-ed coverage is an unfair representation of the quality and breadth of our standard opinion reporting.

Because the event occurred in early December, The Ram’s printing schedule was out of session for the semester and finals were in full swing. We published no articles – opinion or otherwise – during this time, the only exception being news pieces in circumstances that warranted breaking coverage.

By the time our printing schedule began again in January after the winter break, the incident had lost much of its initial traction. The event was no longer timely to comment on and op-eds were difficult to solicit.

We reject the claim that we avoid entering any discourse out of fear, neglect or anything other than the practical realities of student journalism.

We reiterate our welcome to those at The Pamphlet and appreciate their willingness to join the cause we unfailingly dedicate ourselves to week after week. The ongoing dialogue will benefit from your perspectives, if they are presented with care.