Art by Sacha Irick
As the 2013 fall semester of the Graphic wraps up with this issue, our staff decided now would be prime time to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions that we’ve encountered around campus.
Below are a list of commonly asked questions that we felt compelled to answer.
Q: Why do you publicize the university’s negative press?
A: As stated in our mission statement, we are a student-run publication and not the university’s public relations team. We publish both “good” and “bad” news of the university. Our objective is to report the truth, but of course, not every piece written in the Graphic is the same: We publish reviews, news, opinion, sports and cover events.
Q: Does the university finance the newspaper and pay for its operation?
A: The university administration provides funding for our budget that supplements our advertising revenue and covers minor equipment and supplies we use for Student Publications. Other than that, the Graphic does not receive any additional financing unless we request it for a specific reason. For instance, over the past few years the Inter-Club Council and the administration have helped with the cost of our attendance to the Associated Collegiate Press Convention, the annual college media convention that the Graphic has sent students to for more than 35 years.
Much of our budget, however, comes from our advertising revenue to cover our operations, including printing the paper.
Q: Is your reporting influenced by the university’s Christian affiliation?
A: Although we respect and understand Pepperdine’s Christian faith and mission, our publications are not subject to any censorship or prior review by the university administration. The Graphic follows the general code of ethics in which all other national newspapers ascribe.
Q: What is the difference between a news article and an editorial?
A: The main goal of a news article is to inform the reader of the who, what, where, when, why and how of a story. An article should present factual information about a situation or event in an objective manner, meaning that it should be well-rounded and include a diversity of perspectives.
On the other hand, an editorial such as this one selects a side of an issue and draws an opinion from gathered facts. The key word is “opinion.” These pieces are still held to a journalistic standard; however, they are not meant to stand as fact, they’re meant to represent the viewpoint of a writer or of our staff. Editorials are clearly separated in the Graphic. They can be found in the Perspectives section, and opinion columns can also be found in other sections. You can easily tell the difference between opinion and news pieces based on whether the text looks like it fits perfectly into a box or if it has a jagged right edge — news pieces are always boxy and opinion pieces are not.
Q: Can I read the article before publication?
A: Allowing a source to read an article before publication takes away the editorial independence of the reporter. For certain articles, sources may not particularly agree with the way they are portrayed, and that could result in the writer feeling pressured to alter the story. Those types of alterations would reshape articles into press releases. Articles are only published after a thorough reporting job has been done to tell the complete, credible and accurate story. However, if you are worried about the facts, a reporter could, if they choose, review your quotes with you, but nothing else.
Q: Can you stop taking pictures of everything?
A: When staffers take photos of theater performances or car accidents or student arrests, they are doing their job, and they have a constitutional right to do so. When in public, one does not and should not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. While some may be camera shy, a staff photographer is not breaking any laws by snapping pictures of a person or a public event. In journalism, photographs are key assets in helping the reporter deliver the best, most accurate story possible.
Although an article should provide information clearly without having to rely on other mediums, multimedia certainly helps add more depth and clarity to a story.
Q: Why is your website out of date?
A: Our website, pepperdine-graphic.com, is undergoing a makeover due to a virus. It is currently being nursed back to health. Bear with us while our site is reconstructed, and past and present content is uploaded — keep checking back. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @peppgraphic for breaking news.
We hope that this editorial helped you better understand why we do what we do. The First Amendment affords us the right to freedom of expression through our freedoms of speech and press. As a student publication, the Graphic exercises these rights for the benefit of students.
If you have any other burning questions that have been left unanswered, we invite you to write a “Letter to the Editor” or simply make the trek up the CCB stairs and drop by the newsroom. We’ll leave the light on for you.
the Graphic staff
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
As published in the Nov. 14 issue of the Pepperdine Graphic.