Rider News implements new rule when interviewing sources

By Amethyst Martinez & Jake Tiger

An essential part of journalism is fair and balanced reporting that expresses the interests of each party. The Rider News strives to represent all sides of its tight-knit community, whether it be administration, staff, students or faculty, but in recent weeks, declined interview requests and a lack of urgency have limited our ability to do that.

Conducting interviews is the foundation of all reporting. However, this semester, The Rider News has dealt with uncooperative sources. They have been unwilling to speak on the phone or in person with our reporters, some even flat out denying an interview whatsoever.

Unfortunately, this poses a danger to our reporting process.

As a result, our content can sometimes suggest a bias toward the side of those that are willing to speak to the media and represent their corner of the community. In reality, it’s a lack of cooperation from other sources, leaving those viewpoints unheard.

Due to these struggles, we will no longer be accepting email interviews, because they threaten our goal to provide accurate reporting. We are taught in our journalism classes, and know from personal experience, that emailed responses to reporters’ questions often fail to communicate emotion and connotation. Written answers can be carefully crafted without feeling or could even be authored by someone else entirely, and the lengthy emailing process that comes with posing critical follow-up questions seeking clarification can infringe upon our tight weekly deadlines.

The editorial board unanimously agreed on this new rule that will be implemented across all four sections. This rule will increase the value of our experiences as student journalists, and greatly enhance our coverage in an effort to allow all sides of a story to have a voice. It also allows us to continue to be an award-winning newspaper for many years to come. Articles with emailed quotes simply do not meet the journalism standards that judges expect in state and regional journalism competitions.

Moving forward, phone and Zoom interviews will be accepted, but in-person meetings will always be the goal.

If we reach out to you for an interview, know that we care about your perspective, and want to represent your part in something that is important to the community, whether it be administrative tensions, a new club on campus or a gutsy win at Ben Cohen Field. We want to tell your story and inform the Rider community, as is our job to do so.

The Rider News continues to provide valuable, real-world experience for the university’s top media students, and has helped our reporters enter some of the nation’s best journalism graduate programs and newsrooms.

Not only are our award-winning reporters writing stories every week for our publication, they are also full-time students who no longer want to continuously reach out to sources that are reluctant to speak to us. We desperately want to accurately and comprehensively tell the story of Rider, but that is impossible without the cooperation of those who are creating it. We cannot do our job without you.

So, tell us your stories, and all we ask for is candidness, honesty and respect. We strive to represent all sectors of the university, and we will continue to do that in our stories every week, as we have for nearly a century. Hundreds of journalists have been through the doors of our newsroom, and that legacy will continue for future students in the years to come, as long as members of our community are willing to help us do what we love.

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