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To doing better

and | Thursday, October 15, 2020

To our tri-campus community:

As the Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor of The Observer, we would like to address a recent misstep in our publication. The Wednesday issue of The Observer placed a talk given by former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan above a discussion with activist and prominent social justice leader Angela Davis on the front page in the print layout.

Wednesday evening, we saw a comment on social media criticizing the page layout for placing greater emphasis on the former speaker’s lecture rather than the legendary Black academic’s. While Ryan’s former position and political stature warrant a top space in a typical newsroom, The Observer is working toward becoming a more socially aware outlet. This means highlighting stories, such as Davis’, that represent historically marginalized communities in our institutions.

We apologize to our readers for failing to follow through with this ideal.

The Observer frequently receives feedback regarding our coverage. We discuss almost every comment internally; however, we have never addressed a critique like this one before. After seeing the post and reviewing the page ourselves, we immediately knew the criticism was warranted and deserved to be publicly discussed.

We have addressed the problem internally with our staff and are now addressing it with you, our readers. This is an important reminder that we must step outside of our lived experiences to see the bigger, and more inclusive, picture. Remembering to frequently reflect on our own biases while producing content for an expansive audience is necessary to become the most responsible publication we can be.

As an institution striving to hold the tri-campus community accountable, we cannot properly and honestly continue our work if we are not being held accountable ourselves, and are not admitting when we have made a crucial error. Just as we hold our institutions accountable, we appreciate when our readers do the same for us.

The Observer strives to promote and highlight the diversity of our campuses, but in this case, we failed. As The Observer’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, we are committed to confronting our mistakes and promise to do better.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


About Maria Leontaras

Maria Leontaras is a senior at Saint Mary's pursuing a student-designed major in Interactive Journalism with minors in mathematics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Maria used to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer when she wasn't busy tweeting about movies and One Direction.

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About Mariah Rush

Mariah is a senior majoring in American Studies and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She is from the great city of South Bend, and was the Managing Editor of The Observer for the 2020-2021 school year. You can find her always on Twitter at @mariahfrush.

Contact Mariah