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Defining ‘news’

Letter to the Editor | Friday, December 7, 2007

I am a proud Notre Dame student. Recent football seasons aside, I cannot recall one instance in which I was in any way ashamed of my status as a student here. That changed Thursday morning, when I picked up an Observer and read Liz Harter’s front-page article, “SMC senior holds personal protest” (Dec. 6.) Its presence on the front page of our student newspaper is an insult not only to the 46 million babies aborted globally each year but to journalism and common sense. If Erin Brady wants to bemoan America’s lack of “abortion facilities” and deficient “choice” advocacy, that is her option. I, of course, find her opinion abominable and ignorant. But that is also beside the point.

Granting a “personal protest” front-page status and portraying it as news is not. Brady’s “activism in action” professor should be proud. By standing out in the snow, she elevated her personal opinion to the status of a news article. I think The Observer’s editors need to remember that there is a Viewpoint section and that it alone should be the main outlet for personal opinion. That is why Letters to the Editor are printed there.

In conclusion, The Observer needs to reconsider what it classifies as news and what it classifies as one person with an opinion. One person with an opinion – regardless of whether I agree with it – does not constitute a story. If the editors continue the blur those lines, I want them to know that tonight I too am holding a “personal protest” in my tiny Morrissey quarters. I have all sorts of good opinions; can I call front-page?

Adam Hansmann


Morrissey Manor

Dec. 6