Vernon: It’s not the Kansan’s job to be the football team’s cheerleader
- Oct. 9, 2012
- 132 Comments
Inside Stauffer-Flint Hall, the University’s journalism building, hangs a sign that has the First Amendment of the United States constitution printed on it.
It’s the amendment of freedoms. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. And freedom of the press.
There’s no doubt that this law was meant for more important issues than football. And yes, there are more important things than football. Basketball too, believe it or not.
However, Kansas football coach Charlie Weis called out the UDK on Twitter because of an illustration about the football team that ran last Thursday.
It appeared Kansas football players were upset, and their coach defended them. That is fine. No problem there.
But it does need to be said that the Kansan isn’t here to rally up student support for the football team.
The Kansan is here to serve the 30,000 students that trot up and down Jayhawk Boulevard every day. It is here to help them understand and learn what is going on in Lawrence and on their campus. It is here to help them be informed.
Students at this University deserve better than a pom-pom squad of a newspaper. They deserve to get the truth.
For some reason, Kansas Athletics has suggested to the Kansan that a reporter should shy away from asking questions to Weis at his press conferences. This came about because of some negative coverage the Kansan gave the team. The negative coverage is something every area paper is doing. It is their obligation to do so. Just like it’s the Kansan’s.
Last Thursday, the Kansan delivered nothing but the truth, in the image of a cartoon, and some people got far too upset about it.
Emails came in asking for writers, designers and editors to be more supportive. Or to be fired.
That is a joke.
A journalists’ job is to be objective in every sense of the word. A journalist cannot cheer. A journalist cannot wear team colors. A journalist cannot show any bias whatsoever.
The path that Kansas Athletics has taken to handle this situation is not right.
Kansas is a public university, and it has a damn good journalism school that is here teaching its students to be objective members of the Fourth Estate of the United States of America, to hold its leaders accountable, and to be a free and independent press. It’s a democracy thing, and it’s too bad a public American university would try to persuade student reporters into compromising those values.