In Greek Council, Chronicle battle, everyone loses

All public figures could benefit from a word of advice in dealing with the media:

No matter how strongly you feel a news outlet has misrepresented the facts of a situation that involves you, refusing to comment in the future is the wrong way to respond to those objections.

It stands to reason that the Greek Council would be upset with The Chronicle from time to time, given how much coverage we devote to such a small community.

But that doesn’t excuse the sheer absurdity of their announcement that they will no longer communicate with The Chronicle in the future after the article “Neighbors voice concerns about relations with greeks, U,” (Nov. 3).

Such a reaction would only serve to worsen Greek Row’s image–an image that obviously concerns them deeply enough to have prompted this boycott. While The Chronicle will remain committed to pursuing fair and accurate news stories that affect local U students, it is unlikely that fraternities and sororities will ever be content with the coverage they receive if it never includes their own points of view.

The Chronicle also writes about a number of the positive events arranged by greeks throughout the year–press which bolsters their image on campus, and press which no other outlet is willing to provide.

Oftentimes we receive complaints that the bulk of our coverage is negative. It would be a lot easier for us to cast deserving organizations in a positive light if they actually came into The Chronicle office from time to time to tip standout citizens for student profiles. If you want to be represented well in the media, you have to take a proactive approach.

The Chronicle understands that many of our typical subjects– such as ASUU, the administration, and Greek Council–think that the accuracy of our reporting is compromised by a perceived lack of understanding on the part of reporters.

This happens to virtually every impartial media outlet in the world, however, and it even affects the best of the professional models we strive to emulate. An “all-angles” approach to journalism often creates the illusion of bias, since no subject of an article (by definition) is objective.

The Greek Council needs to recognize this; otherwise they are shooting themselves in the foot.

Suddenly “nosy neighbors” will seem like the only people on the block, since The Chronicle will have only their comments to rely on. And if The Chronicle tries to contact Greek Council (as we will continue to do), stories will include notes that the members refused to comment. Those notes have no intended editorial effect other than to explain that other involved sources were pursued–but they nonetheless impart a negative impression to the minds of readers.

“Why wouldn’t they talk? What do they have to hide?”

When the issue of distrust inevitably arises (if they continue to muzzle members), Greek Council will likely blame The Chronicle for making something out of nothing again. Or–with a positive story–not devoting enough priority to it.

At the end of the day, we’re an easy scapegoat. Greek Council needs to put in some kind of effort to repair the situation.

Otherwise, it’s only going to get worse, and that’s the last thing The Chronicle wants. Even if we write about it.