Readers comment on Daily’s performance

Published letters to the editor represent a sample of those received, as well as new topics.

In the last two weeks at The Minnesota Daily:

Bad judgment

A Daily reporter over-stepped his bounds at a caucus and announced Sen. John Edwards’, D-N.C., resignation. Josh Verges acknowledges he made a “bad decision.”

Comment: Enough said.

Compliments to the Daily

“Thank you for printing Army Specialist, Joe Roche’s, letter and photos from Iraq. Thank you, Joe Roche, for providing a soldier’s personal and positive perspective on the role of the U.S. in Iraq.”

Comment: It’s nice to see the Daily is bringing someone good news.

Liberal bias

Concerns about the bias of the Daily have been coming steadily over the last month.

“By simply picking up an editorial page, you would never guess that over 60% of Americans do not support gay marriage and that Bush and Kerry actually agree on something.” – Travis Onischuk

“I read the Daily almost every day. I have not seen a conservative point of view ever expressed in the editorial section. Most of the opinions come from the liberal point of view also. This is also true about the number of ‘letters to the editor’ that actually get published.” – Gregg W. Knorn

“The point of a school newspaper isn’t to throw your opinions and beliefs on the student body, but to inform them and keep things neutral.” – Charli Haataja

After looking through the last month’s letters, this is what I found: The Daily printed 27 “liberal” letters, six “conservative” letters and 17 “neutral” or nonpolitical letters. These ratios are fairly close to the ratio of the letters received.

Comment: If the Daily is biased, it is biased based on submissions.

Endorsement proper for newspaper

“When reading the paper and seeing a headline like ‘Vote Kerry on Super Tuesday’ I think outright telling people how to vote goes a little far.” – Charli Haataja

Comment: Newspapers have been endorsing candidates for election since before the Declaration of Independence. In fact, when the country was formed, political parties owned newspapers outright. While it’s not up to me to decide whom the editorial board endorses or opposes, it is the traditional role of a newspaper to make its opinions known – as long as they clearly identify those pieces as opinions.

As part of my job, I read the letters to the editor. It’s been good to see opinions and viewpoints from a wide cross-section of the University population. I encourage anyone to write letters on issues important to them.

I take efforts to see the letters that are published reflect not only a decent sample of the letters received, but also bring in new information and diverse viewpoints to the discussions we are all engaged in at the University.

John Schaus is The Minnesota Daily’s readers’ representative, and as such acts as the Daily’s ombudsman. He is independent of the newsroom and welcomes readers’ comments about the Daily’s reporting, or its absence, at [email protected]