Middle States report leads to Loquitur changes

By Staff Writer
October 14, 2005

The Loquitur’s publishing process has been restructured creating a delay in its online service to the Cabrini community. Editors will now postpone their web edition a week to address any comments or noted errors in content made by the public regarding the current print version of the Loquitur.

The decision came in response to comments made by the Middle States Evaluation Team concerning the legal exposure the college faces because of its relationship with the newspaper. Since the newspaper is an academic course and is dependent on the college, over the summer Dr. Jerry Zurek, the adviser; President Antoinette Iadarola, and Dr. Jonnie Guerra, the vice president for academic affairs, met to discuss changes to prevent any possible future legal issues.

“Because the newspaper is available by subscription as well as on the web, such a relationship may increase the college’s level of risk. We also found it difficult to see how the newspaper can be true to its mission as a student-run newspaper when the work of the student writers is used as part of a laboratory class,” according to a report filed by the Middle States Evaluation Team. No examples were cited by the Middle States Evaluation Team in regards to any past articles that made have led to a potential legal problem.

“As a result of the meeting, I proposed several new safeguards to increase the accuracy of reporting and to heighten reporters’ and editors’ awareness of the consequences of their reporting,” Zurek said.

The most visible addition to the print version is a tagline appearing at the end of stories that reads: “Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: Loquitur@yahoogroups.com. The editors will review your points each week and make corrections if warranted.”

Andrew Matysik, editor in chief of the Loquitur, said, “I think the little blurb on the end should be put somewhere once in the paper, and that’s it. There is no need to put it at the end of every single story. People aren’t dumb. They know they can contact us with corrections and we will correct them.”

The department is also establishing an advisory panel of top media professionals to help it move up to the next level of excellence as it expands its new convergence curriculum. The Loquitur will also have a campus feedback panel meet with its editors periodically to provide suggestions on improving reporting on all aspects of campus activities and issues.

The fact remains that the new process has created a stall in its availability to its online audience. When a new issue is released, last week’s issue is just being uploaded online for its readers. This has produced a difficulty for the editors to find timely articles for both its print and web editions.

“It has definitely hurt the paper’s readership and purpose. I have had readers confront editors, saying that we messed up our web edition because it is late. One purpose of a paper is timeliness. If ‘news’ comes to readers delayed, it does not have the same effect on them,” Maria D’Alessandro, the Loquitur managing editor, said.

In editorial meetings, the editors now discuss corrections needed for each past issue to ensure reliable coverage for its web edition. As a result of this practice two out of the approximately 50 stories published so far have been found to have errors. Corrections to these articles were promptly made and published to the web edition.

An editor speaking on anonymity said, “I think that Iadarola is trying to suppress our freedom of speech.

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