By The Marcolian Editorial Board
The small community at Marietta College often means that everyone knows everyone, or at least that everyone knows a great many people.
While this familiar atmosphere is great for building a strong community, it makes the job of young journalists on campus quite tedious. Any word we print is bound to connect with someone we know on campus, for better or for worse.
As a newspaper, we try to avoid having our journalists tackle stories in which they may be too heavily involved. However, people have their beats they like to cover, or perhaps they have developed strong connections through which they can interview the people most closely related to a story. If we do not know anybody to interview for a campus story, chances are someone else we know does.
Some will state that writing a story about people we know here creates a conflict of interest, but given the unique community relationships present at this college, is it even avoidable?
Certainly some of our journalists are more spread out across campus and likely know more people than other contributing writers. Should this mean that these students, striving to become better writers and build a strong portfolio, refrain from writing many a story because of whom they know? If they make a serious, legitimate attempt at presenting all sides of a story, is it fair for journalists at Marietta College to write about people they know?
We believe that many on staff would agree that our journalists should not write stories that focus on a situation in which they are involved. We can let other writers cover the news when we as individuals are a part of it. But if we hold our journalists back from reporting on campus stories that include other people they know, we become practically incapable of writing anything.
Recently, stories have appeared in our paper that raised this question about conflicts of interest for our journalists. It is an important question to ask, but one that perhaps lacks a concrete answer.
What we can commit to you is our very best effort to avoid compromising situations while providing the news and information we believe Marietta College needs to hear most.