Northwestern under fire

Anna Schenkel , Assistant News Editor

Some things, sometimes, are better left unsaid. 

“My  intention  as a photojournalist and as a reporter is never to hurt anyone, to cause any additional trauma, to manipulate stories.” photojournalist Colin Boyle said.

Boyle is a  student at Northwestern University, who took photos of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who came to the Northwestern University College Republican event to speak. Students were protesting his presence on campus by gathering outside the event and attempting to disrupt his speech. 

The student’s newspaper, The Daily Northwestern, sent two reporters to cover what happened during his speech, including taking photos and interviewing people about the event. Some student journalists posted photos on Twitter from the event that caused an uproar for The Daily Northwestern. The controversial photos released depicted students getting into fights with officers and people protesting the event. 

Xavier senior Jack  Renning  hopes to attend Northwestern next year and voiced his opinion on the protests. 

“I think that it’s fair to cover a protest, but they might have went about getting the photos and information the wrong way,” Renning said. 

After severe backlash from the newspaper’s Twitter audience and other news sources, The Daily Northwestern released an editorial statement expressing their regret for how they handled the entire situation. In their editorial, the newspaper staff mentioned how they want people to benefit from their coverage rather than being harmed by it and explained the situation from the newspaper’s point of view. 

Another issue students were concerned about was how the Daily chose to reach out to students for their opinion regarding a story. Student journalists were using the Northwestern directory to contact other students via text, asking if they would be interested in being interviewed. The editorial acknowledged that this was an invasion of privacy and said they were working on ways to correct this within their staff. 

Boyle’s photos posted to Twitter caused an uproar for the student newspaper. Boyle was interviewed on National Public Radio by Michel Martin. 

“I’m here to tell stories and to inform our community and our audience,” Boyle said. “Looking back on it now, it’s caused for a lot of time of reflection of what our job is as journalists and our impact and the privilege  our  job has, where  we’re not as impacted by coverage, sometimes, versus those we’re reporting on.”

As seen in this event, journalists still struggle to draw the line for privacy,

especially at public events.