Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Home » Opinion » Corrections » From the Board of Directors

From the Board of Directors

Dear Readers,

As illustrated by a posting on XOJane on Thursday, the Crime Logs sections of The Daily Free Press have repeatedly published callous sub-headlines making light of serious issues and inadvertently exploiting victims of crime for humor. On behalf of the Board of Directors of The Daily Free Press, we sincerely apologize for these headlines and any other material that may have caused harm or offense.

Though Crime Logs have traditionally aimed to satirize harmless, victimless crimes, these examples demonstrate a lack of sensitivity and empathy on the part of several editors. As with all our content, our editorial staff accepts full responsibility for the offensive sub-headlines and asks that writers not be blamed for the mistakes of their editors. Going forward, the Free Press will publish Crime Logs with only serious headlines, in an effort to keep our student population aware of criminal activity and to give victims their due respect. We are updating past sub-headlines to reflect our new standards.

In addition to changing Crime Logs, we plan to begin mandatory sensitivity training for new editors at the start of each semester. We hope student groups and others will be interested in working with us. We believe these changes will build on other efforts the Free Press has made over the past year to improve its coverage of student affairs, its reputation and credibility and its sensitivity to crimes that continue to plague our campus.

Despite our shortcomings, we are proud of our writers and editors, who have worked diligently to provide independent coverage of issues most relevant to students. We firmly believe in the need for an independent student newspaper, at once to provide the student population with valuable information and perspectives and to train our student-journalists and editors. We do not take this issue lightly and hope to learn from our mistakes.

 

Sincerely,
Alex Nawar
Board of Directors Chairman
board@dailyfreepress.com

46 Responses for “From the Board of Directors”

  1. Neena says:

    Well said. Great to see the paper react quickly and responsibly.

    • Erin says:

      Quickly? This had been going on for quite some time, and I refuse to believe no one in a position of power had read the paper before now. This is clearly done now to mitigate the damage of the sub-headlines being brought to light on a national level by the xoJane article, not out of any kind of act of empathy towards the victims of these crimes. I say too little, too late, and obviously for all the wrong reasons.

  2. G says:

    I’m not sure how sensitivity training will help anyone who finds humor in rape, hate crimes & violence.

    • GS says:

      I agree, I find “sensitivity training” a mere palliative for a broader, systemic issue that is clearly evident in our community. However, that said, I’m glad the Freep is doing something about this disgusting behavior.

      • SDJ says:

        I like how the sensitivity training is mandatory for “new editors.” Yeah, I think its the current editors that need some serious refreshers on sensitivity.

        • anon says:

          agree completely with SDJ – that is putting the blame forward to individuals that have nothing to do with this garbage

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why are you “proud” of your writers and editors who have written and allowed published such horrible things? Making a woman’s rape into a joke? No “pride” should be taken in this. People should be fired.

  4. RB says:

    I’m impressed by this response. Thank you, BU.

  5. Never a BU Student says:

    “Great to see the paper react quickly and responsibly”. Are you kidding me?! This has been going on for years and years. Doesn’t the editor READ the newspaper they’re editing?
    This makes me sick. You should personally apologize to the students who have been re-victimized at the hands of your editorial team. You’ve trivialized their pain, given power to their attackers and made them feel like the student body is laughing at them. Sensitivity training isn’t enough. You should FIRE the editor that’s been responsible for this content in the Crime Logs.

  6. Heather says:

    Finally you realize how offensive this is.
    What took you so long?

  7. Jennifer says:

    First of all, you spelled “inadvertently” wrong.

    Secondly, with all due respect, this is complete bullshit. You say you are only aiming to make light of “harmless, victimless crimes”, but that is simply not true for two reasons. One, no crime is harmless and victimless or else it wouldn’t be a crime. And second, you make fun of ALL crimes, serious and otherwise. While you’ve certainly changed the headlines for the incidents mentioned in the article written on XOJane, looking back through your crime logs, there are many other grievous crimes you’ve written about that still have headlines which were written in a pathetic attempt to be humorous. For example:

    -> “A-salt and butter-y” -The manager of Dining Services is assaulted.
    -> “Dodging death” – Someone locks himself in his car and tries to commit suicide.
    -> “Dangerous divorce” – A man assaults his girlfriend by punching and kicking her
    -> “Just beat it” – A man was assaulted during an armed robbery in which a gun was held to his head.
    -> “GTA: The Hub” – A woman’s car was entered by a stranger while she was driving and she was sworn at and scratched all over her body.
    -> “Dial B for Blackmail” – A woman received several calls from a stranger that he would kill her brother unless she paid him $2,000.

    While you all might be enjoying a heart laugh about blackmail, assault, armed robbery, and suicide, those of us with even a touch of sensitivity realize none of those things are anything to laugh about. I’m glad you will be treating victims of crime with a little more respect in the future, but don’t expect to have a reputation as anything resembling courteous until you change ALL of your past headlines.

  8. chicky says:

    No. Just… no. I always thought that the Crime Logs were pretty tasteless, but especially after what the Freep pulled on April Fools the year before last, you’d think that there’d be a little more sensitivity, or at least a lasting lesson learned. Turns out that left to your own devices, the Freep will always return to ignorance and callousness. I know plenty of Freep staffers and know that they’re dedicated journalists with good hearts, but the fact that you continue to produce a shitty, offensive paper doesn’t bode well.

  9. Adam says:

    It is somewhat disconcerting that people need to undergo sensitivity training in order not to make light of such serious crimes as sexual assault.

  10. Jessica says:

    Neena, their response was only quick after someone called them out for what they were doing. Responsible would’ve been them never doing it in the first place. Pigs.

  11. Lynne says:

    Please explain and give some examples of the “harmless, victimless crimes” that are eligible to be mocked.

    This is an embarrassment.

  12. BUStudent says:

    At what point will it end? How many times do you guys need to shamelessly and insensitively mock serious events going on around campus and have to issue a formal apology? It makes the students question what goes on in staff meetings. Do you all sit around and make jokes about all the horrible things that go on around campus? You may be an independent publication, but controversy for the sake of it is disgusting and puts to shame all the true journalists who believe that their writing and reporting could actually benefit people. The FreeP is an embarrassment to Boston University and the level of excellence that students in the College of Communication strive for.

    I seriously think you need to take a step backwards and re-evaluate your entire publication, rather than repeatedly making tasteless “mistakes” and apologizing for them as soon as your staff comes under fire. Its time for the BU community to look elsewhere for news and information, because what you are giving us is gross and unnecessary.

    I don’t expect you to publish this, but I just want someone on your staff to realize how many people have been directly afflicted by the poor decisions you make. Its not normal for a college newspaper to make this many errors in judgement.

    • RecentBUAlum says:

      Here, here!

      It’s also abnormal to not have bios of the writers and editors. I would think a picture and description would add a sense of accountability to each of them. You know, so students can actually see and get to know who exactly is spewing what.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Where was this response when I came to you last year about the insensitive comment you made about my sexual assault case? I don’t believe a word you say. We both know this isn’t the first time the Freep has been accused of being insensitive towards sexual assault.

    The Freep is a disgrace. I am ashamed that this pathetic excuse of a publication shares the name on my degree.

    • GS says:

      Despicable that these attempts at improvement are always reactionary and never proactive. Shows how superficial they are.

      • Bu student says:

        I worked at the freep the semester they did that stupid, horrible April fools paper and then too they said they were going to have sensitivity training for staff. Bull Shit! I think they really need to get rid of the freep. Just a bunch of self absorbed, drunk ,pseudo-journalist anyway!

  14. BU Student says:

    Is it time for a new BU student newspaper? There seem to be deeply rooted systemic issues with the Freep that no number of apology letters will wipe away. The Freep had a good run, but maybe some students committed to real journalism, not people wanting to join a fun club, could start something that won’t get BU plastered all over Jezebel once or twice a year. I’m not sure that BU does have a “rape culture” but our primary student publication sure makes it look like we do.

    • Really? says:

      Seriously, what about working grueling hours only to be publicly mocked at worst or completely ignored at best sounds like a “fun club?” Working 40-60 hours a week on top of regular classes sure sounds like a group of students “committed to real journalism” to me. Give them a break.

      As for the mistake they’ve made. They’ve apologized, let’s watch them move forward. Don’t go be dramatic until you can see if anything is actually changing or now.

      • BostonRocco says:

        Dramatic? Seriously, getting angry about making light of sexual assault is being dramatic. You are a moron.

      • BU Student says:

        It’s not one mistake, it’s a pattern of issues that seem too egregious to me to be labeled mistakes.

        And listen, I have a lot of friends who work for the Freep. Many of them are very smart, very driven people. I also know a lot of people who used to work at the Freep and became completely fed up with the paper. That’s why I think the institution of the Daily Free Press may be the biggest problem, not the individual people who get involved with it.

        If you’re going to put 40-60 grueling hours into anything, wouldn’t you rather it be something that isn’t shameful.

      • y u mad says:

        Seems like someone poorly invested their time.

        Work is not effort over time spent, but effort over the impact of that effort. Given the negative/subpar result of those “40-60 hours,” it seems like negative work has been done.

        I don’t see why anyone needs to be given a break. The pattern of irresponsible behavior calls for action. Stop embarrassing BU.

        • y u mad says:

          The entire apology basically says “we didn’t mean to!”

          Looking forward to the next April fools edition of embarrassment.

  15. Lynne says:

    Which “harmless, victimless crimes” are okay to satirize?

    • brie cheese says:

      Exactly. Some things are just not appropriate and “freedom of speech” didn’t constitute slander …. which I wonder how much these victims could get in a lawsuit against BU??? Just planning aseed….

  16. Gemma says:

    Good to see the FreeP actually responding about something, but saying is different from doing. Ever since my freshman year I’ve had my doubts about this paper as poorly managed and blatantly misogynistic. Saying is different from doing, and I hope something will actually be done rather than the paper going on as it always has.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Interested in working with you? It’s going to have to take some time and TRUST to get interested in working with you. Why was this issue not handled before?

  18. Sucks2BU says:

    Just what you’d expect from this pathetic excuse for a university.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Wow. You guys are scum. Really.

  20. Rag says:

    What’s a bigger joke, the Freep or BU hockey?

  21. BostonRocco says:

    Your response was not at all speedy. It is only because people were starting to notice your gross “joke” headlines in large numbers. BU continues to be a disgrace to our great city. Well done.

  22. Laila says:

    This is simply disgusting. I am so, so thankful I didn’t go to BU after seeing this sort of disgusting, despicable treatment of people’s lives being toyed with so disgracefully and blatantly in the paper. That this was going on FOR AS LONG AS IT WAS raises SO MANY red flags. Check yourselves.

  23. MB says:

    Enough is enough. The Daily Free Press needs to go. How many more different scandals will it take for the university to realize that this student run paper is tarnishing the reputation of the university, current students, and alumni. I question the intelligence and sensitivity of the editors/writers for allowing this to go on. How can you ask us not to blame the writers? They are the ones who wrote each and every headline. The editors are without a doubt to blame as well. Did not one of these editors or writers realize that these headlines were immature and cruel?! I do not accept your apology DFP and I do not believe you will learn from your mistakes. This paper and all staff involved needs to go and a new one needs to be reborn with professionalism and maturity embedded in its values from the beginning.

    XOJane I commend you for sharing this private and difficult moment with us.

    –A concerned BU alumni

  24. GS says:

    Truly, truly hope to see more efforts at humanistic and compassionate journalism from you guys. I pray for the day that no one sees the appeal at triggering a fellow human’s trauma or making fun of their suffering REGARDLESS of “harmless” intent. The end result is what matters and we live in a world where domestic/sexual violence statistics have not changed since the 1960s – we all know someone who has experienced such trauma, regardless of whether we are aware of it. Please, let’s all be more conscientious, especially when you have a newspaper at your fingertips.

  25. brie cheese says:

    The whole situation is preposterous. My heart goes out to the victims. Haven’t heard good things recently about BU and I guarantee this hurts their future atendees. Who wants to go to a school where your peers judge and victimize someone even after that someone has already been victimized in ways that goes beyond being detrimental to not only their physical and psychological state, but spiritually as well? The whole system is fucked. BU: “oh shit, we have to apologize or we will look bad!” Waaaah. Keep standing up for what’s right ya’ll. Everyone has the power to break the cycle and make a better today for a greater future for humanity. “Be the change you want to see in the world” – Ghandi

  26. anonymous says:

    WHAT WILL YOU DO ABOUT IT? PEOPLE IN NUMBERS ARE A LOT LOUDER THAN A MEGA PHONE.

  27. Betty says:

    Time to say goodbye to the Daily Free Press. Too many issues this past year alone.

  28. Dodged a bullet here says:

    Wait, you said you only mean to make fun of victimless crimes, but in the last two pages of crime logs I found at least three that referred to a victim in the opening sentence.

    I’m so glad that I came across the XOJane article. I’m an Australian student who will be relocating to the states to study next year, and Boston was right up the top of my list. Fortunately when I started researching my choices, the XO Jane article came up. Not one to jump to confusions I came straight to the source and have just read through some f the crime logs myself.

    I can say without a shred of uncertainty that I will NEVER apply to Boston now. Not not does this raise questions as a female student in a vulnerable ‘away from support network in a foreign country’ position as to the lack f basic human decency that would be displayed if something were to happen to me, but more likely that my studies would be frowned upon by my peers because of what a disgusting reputation this paper is earning for Boston. Damn right this is affecting admissions. If something like this was published in my home university’s student paper heads would roll.

    I can’t help but feel XO Jane just helped me dodge a bullet here!

  29. [...] Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper at Boston University, has issued an apology and has made plans for its employees to undergo “mandatory sensitivity training” for [...]

  30. BUAlum says:

    As a BU alum, I am deeply shocked and embarrassed by what the Daily Free Press has been writing. And seriously, “sensitivity training”? I realize the Freep is an independent paper, but because the reputation of the entire BU community is at stake, the university needs to take some action. Those responsible for the Crime Logs need to be fired immediately and should have been fired ages ago, from the sounds of it. Maybe if alumni start talking with their wallets (those who actually donate), the school will realize something needs to be done. Just a thought… The Freep had issues when I was in school, but nothing like this.

  31. RecentBUAlum says:

    To echo a few people, I’m a recent alum and am truly disgusted and embarrassed by the FreeP. From its contributors’ consistently uninteresting, lazy writing to the Crime Logs and that horribly priceless April Fool’s issue a few years back. Ever since I was a freshman (and probably long before) it’s been an irritating blemish on BU’s reputation that just won’t go away and won’t reform itself. Firing one or two people is symbolic, ‘sensitivity training’ for newcomers just pushes the blame forward. When will you move beyond the apologies so that you don’t have to anymore?

    I used to think the worst moments were when you pick up the current issue of The Daily Free Press just to give it another shot, as if something’s different, only to be immediately disappointed. Now we’re starting to see the systemic problems within the organisation itself and their failure time and time again to substantially address them. I understand that running an independent student newspaper requires a lot of time and effort, but it’s all going to waste if no one has a clear vision (and implements it) for what the FreeP needs to do to regain trust and be a real voice for our students instead of mocking our victims.

    For the non-BU students: please know that the student body overwhelmingly disapproves of this student paper. There are other publications with much more tact. BU is so much better than this.

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