The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Thursday, June 20, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

Column: Taking the time to get it right

Paige Ladisic

Editor-in-chief Paige Ladisic 

I was scrolling through Yik Yak on Wednesday evening and found a troubling post: “I get all of my news from Yik Yak these days.”

Let’s all reevaluate.

The Daily Tar Heel first posted something about reports that someone had jumped or fallen from Morrison Residence Hall at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, about an hour after officials say they first received reports. Users on Yik Yak were updating by the minute during that entire hour. We saw people tweeting and retweeting information without official confirmation. Rumors were being spread.

People wanted to inform others who were worried about something that had happened on their own campus, and we give them credit for that. But think about it before you treat it like fact.

You can trust a media outlet to fact check, find official sources and confirm. You can trust the information you hear from us to be fact. You will find news there. You will not find rumors. When we make mistakes, we will correct them. You can trust us to value our credibility and our responsibility to you more than we value anything else.

To us, it is always more important to be right than to be first.

People posting on Yik Yak or Twitter are not as reliable.

Readers were disappointed in the media and the University for taking so long. I get that. But know that we were scrambling, calling everyone we knew and chasing down the information so we could get it to you. Our university desk editors in the office, Jane Wester, Tori Mirian and Acy Jackson, knew there was something students on campus needed to know, and they were in constant contact with me to make sure we had it right before we put it out there.

I won’t list what people got wrong and what they got right, but this is important: Yik Yak should not serve as the main news source for UNC students. When we treat it as such, we are giving anonymous people way too much power. We may be informed, but we may just as easily be led astray.

Yes, Yik Yak provides you with information about what’s going on in the UNC community. Some days, it might be faster than the DTH, WRAL, The (Raleigh) News & Observer and most certainly Alert Carolina. It’s a fun way to talk back and forth with people, and if something is happening on campus, you will more than likely hear about it there.

But apps like Yik Yak also fuel our campus community with rumors, nonsense and pure hate. There is no accountability. It fuels fear and pain on college campuses all over the country. It’s causing a lot of pain on the University of Missouri’s campus right now. People use anonymity to threaten, discriminate and hurt. Reporting the news is just a small part of what Yik Yak allows people to do.

Wait for confirmed information before you speculate. Take what you see on an anonymous site with a grain of salt. Support the people around you. Realize the pain rumors can cause. Be decent. Be kind.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.