The real ‘Black Sheep’

Ethical journalism should be the goal of any publication.

by Editorial board

The Black Sheep is a printed “comedy” publication on 14 college campuses and a recent addition to the college media scene at the University of Minnesota. Each franchise is staffed by students at that college. The Black Sheep claims to be the “college newspaper that’s actually about college.” Sticking to this mantra, content in the Black Sheep usually revolves around the collegiate lifestyle, the local arts scene, relationships and partying.

The Black Sheep exists to entertain not inform. Still, readers can learn about the University community from its pages whether the content is accurate. Many Black Sheep articles rely on stereotypes and commonly accepted public opinion. A recent article comparing the East and West banks referred to Riverside Plaza on Cedar Avenue as the “crack stacks” — a name that continues to perpetuate stereotypes about the community living there. Beyond that, the Black Sheep relies on stereotypes about college life, sex and drinking that only further damages our generation’s reputation.

While talking about college from a humorous perspective is a smart idea given the intended audience, it’s not funny to misinform people, perpetuate stereotypes and disregard the impact humor can have on its subject. Journalists at most college newspapers aim to minimize harm when they can and report the truth as fairly and accurately as possible. It doesn’t appear that the managers of the Black Sheep here or at other college campuses give much thought to this idea.

The Black Sheep lives up to its namesake and doesn’t do college students any favors by masquerading stereotypes and misinformation as humor.