What is news? With the multitude of events taking place in our campus, state, nation and world, what exactly should the Collegian or any other newspaper cover?
Sometimes deciding the newsworthiness of an issue becomes difficult. On Friday, a food fight at Columbine High School resulted in the arrest of four students. This senior prank gone wrong left students facing possible charges including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, harassment and inciting to riot.
Our problem with this issue isn’t whether or not the students were treated too harshly, but that the story ran on the front page of the Rocky Mountain News.
It has been almost three years since the shootings at Columbine, and there is no doubt that the event will stand out in our minds for many years to come. But however violent the events following the food fight became, it is still just a food fight. Nobody was injured and no property was damaged. If the event would have taken place in any other high school in America, a story wouldn’t have run on the front page of a large metropolitan newspaper.
There is a difference between covering a story and going too far. We at the Collegian have been criticized for the same judgment calls on whether issues have been overplayed or if they deserve continued coverage. Obviously, every person has a different idea of what events are important in our community.
The process of gathering and reporting news isn’t a science – it’s judgment. We feel the Rocky Mountain News made a judgment error in this case, but we acknowledge the fact that the media can’t always make everyone happy.