Let’s talk about sex

By Ren LaForme

The Spectrum Sex Issue

Should The Spectrum have printed this image?

The big news around campus this week, ironically enough, is about The Spectrum.

On Monday, the paper printed a full-page image of a couple engaging in a sexual activity on the front page of the paper’s sex issue. The image is crude, it is in-your-face and, in my own opinion, it crossed a line.

There are tasteful ways to catch people’s attention through sex. Other newspapers have printed photos similar to this one for their sex issues, and they caused controversy, but none of them seem to be as explicit as the one The Spectrum chose to print.

Photos cause controversy in newspapers all over the world every day. They’re the most vivid aspect of any story, and they’re supposed to catch people’s attention.

But they should also provide substance, and that’s the big problem with this image.

It’s there for shock value. It’s there so people will pick up the paper. But it doesn’t offer anything.

Keeley and I were both out of town when the newspaper staff decided to run this picture. We were gone when they decided to dedicate the whole front page to it. Our names are not on this edition of The Spectrum.

Since then, we’ve both taken a lot of flack from other editors for not supporting the paper as it faces the fallout from this photo.

But should we have to walk in lockstep with the paper now, even though we both find the image to be tasteless and were not involved at all?

Should we be allowed to speak out? After all, isn’t that what journalism is all about?

Should the paper have printed the image in the first place? Should it have been so prominent?

I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I do know where I stand.

I refuse to support this edition of The Spectrum.


4 responses to “Let’s talk about sex

  1. I agree! I usually enjoy reading the Spectrum but was very shocked at the cover that I saw today. It obviously appears to be in a lecture hall around campus by the background too which is even more distasteful. Thats going to be great for potential students and their parents to see as they tour our campus, what a bad representation of what our school is about and not the best way to calm the nerves of parents sending their children off to college.

  2. I liked it. It was perhaps a bit too much, but it did a great job.

    I disagree with your shock value comment a little bit. I think it had more of a purpose than ust that. But you are entitled to your own opinion….

    I can openly say that you shouldn’t write for a publication if you can’t support it. Espeically if you go to extra means to rip it apart. I didn’t see the broadcast on Your News Now Buffalo (a crappy station at that) but the fact that you would do that shows where your loyalty lies. With yourself.

  3. Oh my gosh I’m commenting again. I somehow stumbled upon this blog so of course now I’m reading all the posts instead of doing work buttttt…

    I’m glad to hear your thoughts on the issue, I’m with you. When I picked it up my first thought was–this is a very Stephen Marth thing to do. Steve’s a great guy and editor, but he loves that shock-value thing, and that’s exactly what this is. A sex issue is a good idea–a topic that so many college kids want to read about. But a cover like that embarasses me as a former Spectrum writer, it degrades the integrity of the paper. Did you take Bruce Andriatch’s ethics in journalism class? That’s exactly what we learned–if a shocking/disturbing photo doesn’t serve a purpose, you’re just exploiting the public’s lurid curiosity.

    And of COURSE you should be able to have a dissenting opinion about your own publication–are you kidding me?!? The public (the ppl you’re serving) aren’t all going to have the same opinions on what should be in the paper, so why should the staff??

  4. Content: 4 This is a great topic and one we spent time in class discussing.

    My biggest problem with the photo is not what it shows or implies. It’s that it doesn’t advance the story told in the paper. If it went alongside a hard-hitting look at sex habits on campus or STD or abortion rates, then the shock would be more appropriate.

    But the stories in the sex issue were weak and poorly organized. If the paper wanted to get attention, editors should have worked harder to deliver better content, not simply a shocking picture.

    It shows journalistic integrity and personal courage to stand up for what you believe in. Certainly, you have every right to remove your name from the masthead.

    As I said to you in person, I have concerns when news people generate news about themselves or an issue they are involved in. A better step is usually to let the news unfold without participating in it.
    Links: 3
    Grammar: 3

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