Student newspapers capture student life through a distinct lens. No third party is better suited to uncover and report on the student perspective behind breaking events on campus than students themselves, particularly during times of controversy.
In light of renewed conversations about free speech spurred by the ongoing violence between Israel and Hamas, the nation has turned its eye toward college campuses. Faculty and administrative messages have been criticized for saying too much or nothing at all. Students have lost job offers for taking stances in opposition to their employers concerning the war. At Harvard and Columbia, students' names and faces have been doxxed. Penn has made national headlines after donors halted sizable donations in protest over President Liz Magill’s actions.
Recognizing that tensions have heightened on campus, student newspapers such as The Daily Pennsylvanian have been diligently publishing breaking news affecting our campuses. At the DP, it is our responsibility to inform our campus community promptly, while keeping our coverage unbiased and accurate. The Daily Pennsylvanian holds itself to the high standards that our audience expects, given our 140 years of service to the University community.
The DP is an independent newspaper — we receive no funding from Penn. To readers, this might seem like an insignificant detail, but our financial independence represents our commitment to unbiased journalism. We are beholden to no administration, donor, or any other funding source.
The Daily Pennsylvanian’s most important relationship is thus with our readers. With a stronger commitment than ever to reporting the truth, the Editorial Board writes this with the hope of increasing trust and transparency with our readers.
In a time when students get much of their news from social media, we are at higher risk of believing misinformation. The spread of misinformation is particularly pertinent now, on campus: What was chanted at a rally? Who said what about President Magill?
To prevent misinformation, everything we publish goes through several rounds of edits and revisions. For both our news and opinion content, there are at least three rounds of edits per article.
News reporters write with their assigned editors, after which articles go to one of the news editors. Opinion columnists and guest columnists similarly receive edits from both deputy editors and the opinion editor. News articles and opinion columns that are flagged as containing sensitive content are additionally reviewed by a combination of our editor-in-chief, our executive editor, or our diversity and inclusion director. For both News and Opinion, a final round of edits is completed by our copy department, which provides grammatical corrections and checks for accuracy.
Behind every article and column we publish is a trove of discussions and edits surrounding intentionality and thoughtfulness. For example, our photo department made the decision to hide the faces of rally-goers in our coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict — given the recent doxxing of students on other campuses. Our news department uses the preferred titles of quoted sources while taking steps to identify misinformation and diversify our reporting to encompass all experiences. And our opinion department, while dedicated to showcasing a variety of perspectives from both our staff and guest columnists, will not move forward with a column if the factual claims made in it are not supported by reputable sources. This is in line with our editorial policies and ethics, which are a part of our community guide.
We are not perfect. We are committed to upholding journalistic ethics and standards, but no newspaper and no journalist is infallible. The Daily Pennsylvanian is a learning institution, and most of our student journalists join us with little to no reporting experience. And, like professional journalists, we all walk into the DP office with our own personal connections and biases. We do our utmost to acknowledge these biases and put them aside in the name of responsibly informing the Penn community.
We are students who are balancing our roles at the DP with our academic and personal lives. Nevertheless, we are always working to improve our approach to sensitive coverage, especially given that our paper has not had this high a readership since the 9/11 attacks.
Now more than ever, it is crucial that we are all actively aware of the media that surrounds us. Though the DP has an active social media presence, the captions that accompany our posts are not the entirety of our reporting, so we encourage readers to read the full version of every article before engaging with it.
We invite all our readers to reach out to us directly through the many avenues we offer for engagement. You can send us news tips or pitch us ideas for coverage by emailing email@example.com, and report errors to us by contacting our executive editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to weigh in on the campus conversation, submit guest columns to email@example.com.
All of us must maintain a critical eye towards what news we consume. We call on our readers across the Penn community to stay informed and vigilant. Hold us accountable for delivering unbiased and accurate reporting.
Editorials represent the majority view of members of The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. Editorial Board, which meets regularly to discuss issues relevant to Penn's campus. Editorial writers are not involved in any news reporting on related topics.