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The Daily Tar Heel

Was one face not like the others?

When DTH editors ran their “Connecting the Dots” graphic last Thursday, their aim was to present a digestible yet comprehensive summary of the NCAA and University investigation into our football team.

For the most part, readers were happy with the neat synthesis of months of information released amidst swarms of rumors.

But one part of the graphic has left many of you furious: Tucked into the bottom left corner, editors included a photo of Butch Davis’s son, Drew, his name and a quick blurb saying that he had at one point worked with the tutor accused of improperly aiding several UNC football players.

Since Thursday, the DTH has received 16 comments on its website and three letters to the editor largely critical of the decision to include Drew Davis in the graphic.

A heavy poster on has also started an “Official ‘DTH NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE’ Thread” that has garnered about 40 concurring responses. Others have criticized the graphic in other threads on the site, as well.

There are three core complaints.

1) Drew Davis is a minor. His photo shouldn’t be published without his family’s permission.

2) Davis was named, but the tutor wasn’t. Why?

3) By including Davis in the same graphic as many accused of wrongdoing, the DTH implied that Davis was also somehow guilty (3 is easily the most provocative — “tasteless,” and “unprofessional” are the watchwords).

Let me take these issues in turn.

1) The fact that Davis is a minor is irrelevant. A string of Supreme Court cases have definitively established papers’ right to publish minors’ names and photos without parental consent. The paper had also already published Davis’s name and picture in a profile piece earlier this month.

2) As of Thursday, the DTH could not publish the tutor’s name because editors did not know it. Though two other state papers broke her name the next day, UNC has released zero information about her to date.

3) What most readers seem to be picking up on is that by including Davis’ name and photo, the graphic made him —Drew the 17-year-old high-school quarterback — a key part of the picture.

That would suggest the fact that the tutor worked with Drew the person is important above and beyond the fact that she simply worked with a family member.

No doubt this was not editors’ intention. “We were not trying to insinuate anything,” Editor-in-Chief Sarah Frier said.

Her goal was to be as comprehensive (and thereby objective) as possible by including what the paper had already ran on Davis.

Because the graphic had an already established pattern of headshots and names, including Davis’ seemed natural.

But because it only aspired to summarize and clarify, readers were also largely left on their own to interpret the lines linking headshots.

This worked fine for people like professors Lissa Broome and Jack Evans. The graphic clearly stated they are charged with investigating players’ academic misconduct.

But for those already surprised to see Davis’ name in bold print, the graphic did not fully justify the relevance of Davis the person to the story. And this, understandably, has left some of you very mad.

Evan Rose is a Public Editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He is a Senior classics and economics major from New York, NY. E-mail him at

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