Last week the cover of UB’s student newspaper, The Spectrum really pushed the envelope of what was appropriate to portray in a journalistic publication.
I’m all for media entities pushing the envelope, tackling difficult issues and discussing taboos. However the cover of this year’s sex issue seemed to rub a lot of people the wrong way, including members of The Spectrum writing staff. The friction created between students over a clearly staged photograph is to be expected but what has me so confused is the utter lack of support I heard from the Spectrum writers themselves.
Certain members/writers weren’t there to decide whether or not the photo would run, others expressed concern or even disgust with the photo. Symantics were batted back and forth over the effect it may or may not have had had it ran on a different page possibly deeper in the paper itself. The crucial thing is that none of the writers present seemed to back up their publication. I’m also aware that one member was able to capitalize on the sensation by selling out the sensationalism to other media entities in town. I will, however, reserve the right to protect my sources as we learned was a right that journalists have.
No matter what happened in that news room, regardless of what was decided, a journalist should back up their publication. “I disagree with running the photo front page,” or “I didn’t care for the image but it’s my paper too, and I stand by The Spectrum staff’s decision,” is what should have been said. But all we heard the week following the issue’s release were flimsy alibis and scapegoating.
Maybe the photo wasn’t politically correct. Maybe it SHOULD have ran on another page other than the front. All that aside, it drew more attention than any other issue has in a long time. I’m a firm believer that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. The fact of the matter is that some people didnt pick up the paper because of the front cover. But, because of that photo certain people that never read the spectrum were at least talking about it that day. And that’s more than any college journalist could hope for on any college campus.