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The Daily Tar Heel

DTH Needs to Recognize Negligence to Consider Cultural Sensitivity

Upon reading the Jan. 29 edition of The Daily Tar Heel, it became painfully apparent that the campus newspaper is becoming increasingly more inconsiderate and less responsible in its portrayal of minorities. While I hope that it was not the intent of the cartoonist to portray the student body president as a Sambo-type character, the negligence on the part of the artist and the editors to consider what particular messages that cartoon projects is irresponsible behavior. Unfortunately, this most recent exhibit of poor taste is only the latest of a series of oversights, gaffes and omissions made by the present editorial board.

As the major media organ on campus, the onus is upon the DTH to adequately and accurately inform the campus community as to the goings on at UNC-CH. Some may argue that in criticizing the DTH, that I challenge the paper's right to exercise the freedom of the press. To the contrary, I only seek to charge that with freedom comes responsibility. The DTH excels in the exercise of these freedoms but fails in taking journalistic responsibility.

It is only logical for the DTH as the campus newspaper to cover University-sponsored events such as Homecoming and the Martin Luther King celebration. Normally when Memorial Hall sells out, the event gets front-page coverage. The annual Homecoming stepshow didn't receive a single word of print despite being one of the highlighted events of the University's celebration. In a second example, the DTH has had quite a hand in creating a climate of scandal around Homecoming elections, yet when Ms. Homecoming, Shayla Higginbotham, sponsored a successful project delivering toys to Ground Zero for victims of Sept. 11, no DTH reporter was in sight. Earlier this month, a full slate of events ranging from dinner discussions to service opportunities featuring lectures by renowned UNC professors went virtually ignored despite being sponsored by the Chancellor's Committee for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration. A snapshot and a brief article on the keynote lecture fails to do justice to the students who volunteered, performed and participated in the week's events. So far this year, the DTH has provided the following options in regards to coverage of minorities on campus: complete ignorance, negatively biased opinion and cartoons printed in poor taste. This is not respectable journalism.

Matthew Shaw


History and Romance Languages

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