The Daily Tar Heel recently unpublished an opinion piece written about University students studying abroad in Israel.
The writer approached me and said his family had received threatening messages regarding the column, and asked that it be taken down for his and his family’s safety.
I, along with my management team, thought it important to satisfy the request. But I would be remiss if I did not make a few things clear to our audience.
First of all, directing written or verbal threats to a reporter or columnist — or, worse yet, their families — because of the content they produced is unacceptable.
To disagree with the outcome of an individual’s work is one thing. But to harass people personally, especially those who weren’t directly involved in the publication of said work, is irresponsible and reprehensible.
The Daily Tar Heel stands proudly behind the work of its editors and reporters, and will gladly continue to be a platform for them to report on important developments that affect University students and the residents of the greater Chapel Hill and Orange County area.
The viewpoints expressed via the Opinion Desk of The Daily Tar Heel, of course, are not those of the organization itself nor of its management. Opinions expressed in editorials are strictly those of The Daily Tar Heel’s Editorial Board and those expressed in columns are strictly those of the columnist penning them.
The Opinion Desk is meant to be a platform for individuals whose perspectives on the news can help give our audience insights into the world around them, especially when sharing perspectives that may have otherwise been overlooked.
It is not our job to moderate anyone’s opinion. Interfering in the work of the Opinion Desk in that way would not only be unprofessional, it would be unethical.
The column in question was removed as a means to ensure the safety and well-being of its author, something The Daily Tar Heel will do whatever it takes to preserve.
We stand proudly behind the work of our talented opinion editors, editorial board and columnists, and we are grateful for the exciting, thought-provoking work they have put in to make our paper better.
And again, to leave no room for interpretation:
The Daily Tar Heel will not stand for any of its writers to be targeted individually for the work they do.
To disagree with any one aspect of the work we do is not only understandable but inevitable. We welcome any and all feedback on our work, and I, along with every member of management and every desk editor, have individual emails through which you can communicate with us as you see fit.
But to personally threaten anyone that works here, regardless of their role, is an affront to this organization and a personal offense to me and the rest of us so grateful to call this organization home. It will not be tolerated.
I hope that I’ve made myself clear, and that we can continue to report on the news of the day. To engage the community in thought-provoking discourse. To support our staff and our community however possible.
To print news. And raise hell.
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