Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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Purporting negative media stereotypes

As a journalism major, I think Adam B Sullivan's "No free passes" opinion column was not right in its ideas of what journalists' aims are.

It is not right to consider reporting "good news" as giving a free pass. I also completely disagree that journalists want bad things to happen. That is a terrible thing to say. Journalists should be striving for good things to happen. Their stories should point out inequalities and problems, so citizens are aware of the issues that surround them locally and nationally. It may be sappy, but I completely believe journalists have the ability to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and keep in check those who do have that power.

This does not mean looking for dirt. It means looking for those stories that are interesting, engaging, personal, timely, etc. Some of the best stories I've read (and the ones that made me want to pursue journalism) are what you might call "fluff" stories, but they affected me in a way I will never forget. I would never consider those stories "free passes" but rather just good examples of superb journalistic work.

Also, Sullivan's political opinions didn't have a place in this piece. This is a reason people have a terrible view of the media as constantly biased. His column was about journalists, not President Bush or President Obama. Perhaps why Plouffe's comment was taken seriously is because some journalists believe Obama does stand on that side with his proposals of higher taxes for the wealthy. Sullivan left out that part and just said "higher taxes."

Regardless of political differences, inserting politics into this piece was unnecessary. I understand what he was trying to say, but I think Sullivan just furthered some of the negative stereotypes people have of the media.

Sarah Larson
UI student

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