The Minnesota Daily hosts a forumto deal with concerns about coverage

Anna Weggel

The Minnesota Daily sponsored a public forum Tuesday to discuss diversity and coverage of diverse issues within the organization.

To open the meeting, which approximately 30 people attended, Editor in Chief Jake Weyer said the Daily is turning to its readers for advice on ways to improve coverage.

To try to explain operations at the Daily, Weyer and Editorials and Opinions Editor Tim Burnett talked about the separation between editorials and opinions, and news.

Burnett said the perception on campus is that it’s difficult to get opinions into the Daily.

“If you take the time to write a good opinion, it’s not as hard as people think,” he said.

Journalism and German sophomore Ahlam Hassan said she didn’t think Nick Woomer’s Feb. 28 opinion, ” ‘Celebrating diversity’ is a recipe for disaster,” properly reflected “a good opinion.”

“It surprises me (Burnett) previously mentioned it takes a good opinion,” Hassan said. “And you see a piece like this, and you wonder, ‘What the hell is going on?’ “

Burnett, who edited Woomer’s opinion column, said it was not edited well enough and Woomer’s ideas, as expressed, were not acceptable.

“That piece was probably the worst piece of editing I’ve ever done,” Burnett said.

Sam Adegoke, a marketing senior and president of the Black Student Union, suggested that the Daily should cover different multicultural events throughout the year.

Adegoke said Woomer’s column, which appeared during Black History Month, was like a “series of slaps in the face.”

He said different types of people need to be recognized on campus and, hopefully, in a positive light.

Weyer said that to improve coverage of diverse issues and to promote an understanding of different colleges, he sent everyone in the newsroom to someplace they normally wouldn’t visit.

“They learned a lot about communities they have never stepped a foot in,” he said.

Weyer said it is important to not only cover diverse events but also include diverse opinions in everyday stories.

Durga Chandilya, a political science and journalism senior, said she wrote a piece for the Daily about a political speaker from a different country who spoke at the University, but it didn’t run.

Caitlin Madigan, the Daily’s co-publisher for organizational development and communications and chairwoman of the board, suggested having a general link on the Daily’s Web site that would tell people exactly where to send submitted material, such as story ideas and opinion pieces, to avoid confusion.

After other students raised issues about events that did not get covered, Libby George, the readers’ representative explained that with the large amount of turnover at the Daily, “a lot of times, things fall through the cracks.”

Adegoke said that besides people being too defensive, he thought the forum was good and covered a lot of important issues.

“I’m hoping a lot of positive changes can come from it,” he said.

Weyer said every comment was taken seriously and that many changes are going to be implemented at the Daily.

“We’re definitely going to be talking about what was said at this forum,” he said.

The Daily will sponsor another forum at 6 p.m. April 6 in 03-111 Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Building.