Letter to the Editor: Et Cetera response to complaint not satisfactory

The article “District prepares for campus carry” (Feb. 8, 2017) not only misquotes me, but does so in a way that radically distorts the meaning and intent of my words.

Further, my remarks were obtained through a recording made by the Student Publications Manager, a recording which should not have been made or distributed.

I tried to address the issue but found myself rebuffed at every turn. I trusted that making the errors known would have resulted in a correction and apology.

But none came. I had hoped either the Managing Editor or the Student Publications Manager would reach out to me. It didn’t happen.

Simple journalistic ethics would demand that the Managing Editor check his source, but no such safeguard was applied, and no consideration appears to have been given as to how his “mistake” would affect the person whose words he used.

One would think that the “editor”-in-chief would make sure that sources were checked, or at least that quotation marks were used correctly. But that writer routinely records interviews without getting permission from the interviewee. I had hoped that the Student Publications Manager would attempt to demonstrate a willingness to take corrective action. Instead, I got silence. This incident and its aftermath have demonstrated a blatant disregard for my ideas and for me as a professional.

Allowing deliberate manipulation to go unchecked is an insult to every person who puts trust in “journalists” who disseminate “information.”

Michael Morris
English professor

Editor’s Note:

The Et Cetera respects the concerns addressed by Professor Michael Morris and investigated them when they first came to light. However, the staff is firm in its stance that Morris’ quote was not printed incorrectly or taken out of context.
The use of ellipses is a common practice in journalism to exclude extraneous information.
Our faculty adviser met twice with Morris to discuss the issue.
In a subsequent email, Morris again expressed his displeasure but declined to write a letter or speak with anyone personally. The quote was taken from a recording of a Jan. 10 campus carry forum for the Arts & Communications Division.
Here is the full quote:
“Second, I’m interested in knowing what money the district, which presently does not pay its instructors a true living wage and has a history of failing to negotiate in good faith, what money they will spend to offset costs to instructors who have been forced to work with firearms in their classrooms against their better judgment. For example, will they pay for training, weapons and ammunition they may need to defend themselves and their students?
“Will they change the health benefits to include more therapy in dealing with the requirement in working in a more stressful situation, stressful environment, or increasing, for those who are injured by firearms in the classroom, for greater death and dismemberment benefits for families of inevitable victims?”
Here is what ran in the Feb. 8 edition of The Et Cetera:
English professor Michael Morris asked if the district would provide professors with weapons, training and ammunition as well as extend health benefits to cover counseling or support to the families of “inevitable victims.”
“I’m interested in knowing what money the district … will spend to offset costs to instructors who have been forced to work with firearms in their classrooms against their better judgment,” Morris said.
We take our obligation to accuracy seriously and strive to provide precise information. We welcome hearing from our readers.

David Silva
Editor in chief

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