The newspaper occasionally covers less-than-pleasant news dealing with people and issues surrounding the ACU community, a situation exemplified in Friday’s issue of the Optimist.
Last week, the Optimist published a story about a student who is now facing life in prison after allegedly attacking his pregnant girlfriend, causing her to miscarry a five-month old fetus.
This news in no way lines up with the positive “change the world” motto ACU seeks to promote, and various stories the Optimist publishes often fall into the same spotty category.
The Optimist staff looks forward to publishing stories about four-time national track champions and professors looking to impact future generations by writing children’s literature.
But the Optimist’s purpose is not to serve as a mouthpiece for the university, highlighting only praiseworthy, feel-good news. Rather, the Optimist seeks to cover all news – both positive and not so positive – in hopes of gaining respect and reliance from the ACU student body as a credible source of news.
Part of this credibility comes with the staff’s dedication to present an unbiased point of view, with exception to the Editorial page, which serves as the voice and opinion of the paper. The Optimist strives for fairness by covering any/all newsworthy issues, regardless of who or what they may concern.
The Optimist publishes “bad news” for several intentional reasons.
First, the media serves as the watchdog of the government and police, ensuring they will enforce the law in an upright manner. The public knows how the government and police perform their jobs through the media’s reporting of their performance.
Second, our staff wants to be a forerunner of the latest news. Through accurate reporting, we hope to dispel rumors and give an accurate account of breaking news stories.
And lastly, we want to teach readers about judicial process. The public can’t know the punishment and consequences for acts if they don’t read or hear about them. By reporting these stories, the public is reminded of the consequences they could face if they break the law.
Particular stories, especially ones that shine a negative light on the ACU community, may appear as an attempt to sensationalize the matter at hand. While the Optimist staff will not shy away from delicate subjects, we are also committed to handling sensitive issues with dignity, respect and responsibility.
We want the student body to look to the Optimist for its most up-to-date information, answering questions, providing reliable sources and putting to rest any rumors. And so we’ll strive for journalistic integrity as we continue to cover hard issues as we attempt to maintain the university’s confidence as its most reliable news source.