Letter from the editors: Addressing anonymous social media account

Transparency remains paramount to our mission

Letter from the editors: Addressing anonymous social media account

Journalists should not be the center of the story, rather, they should be the ones covering it from an outside perspective. This is foundational to the journalism field, and The Eagle stands by it.  

On Tuesday, an Eagle staffer created an anonymous Facebook account and posted a document alleging details of campus-related sexual misconduct.

Eagle staffers, including The Eagle’s managing editors and editor-in-chief, were not aware that the staffer created this account and document. The Eagle is currently looking into campus-related sexual harassment and assault cases. The reporters who are covering these issues were not aware of the actions of this staffer.

The Eagle found out that an Eagle staffer was behind the Facebook page when a reporter reached out to the creator of the account for an interview, not knowing it was a staffer. After finding out that the creator was on our staff, the reporter notified the editor-in-chief.

The creation of this page compromises our credibility because it makes it seem like The Eagle is leaking information about allegations, while we’re still looking into campus-related sexual misconduct cases. 

The staffer has since been removed from staff.

Transparency is paramount to the function of journalism. The creation of an anonymous social media page that makes allegations related to an issue that The Eagle is reporting on does not align with our mission as a news organization.

In addition, our ethics code states, “Reporters should not create or otherwise share status updates that promote or criticize a particular point of view on issues that The Eagle is covering, regardless of whether a reporter covers that issue personally.” This portion of the code applies to every member on our staff, excluding opinion writers.

Prior to the creation of the anonymous Facebook page, our editor-in-chief emphasized the importance of that part of the ethics code to our staff as a whole and one-on-one with the Eagle staffer. 

We recognize that sexual harassment and assault are sensitive matters, and we are making careful decisions on how we go about covering them. 

We will show compassion for those affected by these issues, and we will tell these stories truthfully through diligent reporting.

saustin@theeagleonline.com, kcarolan@theeagleonline.com

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