A Note Concerning Editorial Policy

Tasha Lewis '12 and Jes Downing '12 reveal their Dark Marks
Tasha Lewis '12 and Jes Downing '12 reveal their Dark Marks

During the recent discussions about the nature of debate and conversation on campus, the Phoenix has faced numerous allegations and attacks pertaining to our part in the debates over Greek Life and Robert Zoellick. Thus, we think it appropriate to clarify the editorial policies of the Phoenix.

The News and Opinions sections of the Phoenix are independent of one another, their content unconnected. It is the duty of the News section to report the news as they see fit, free of bias and personal interest. The Opinions section exists as a forum for all avenues of discussion, for the publication of opinions, not news. It would be wrong for the News section to publish opinions, as it would be wrong to construe what is published by Opinions as news.

Staff editorials are the purview of the Opinions section, wherein they are printed. They represent the majority opinion of the members of the Phoenix Editorial Board, which includes the Editor-in-Chief, the Managing Editors, Section Editors, and Assistant Section Editors.

Prior to this semester, editorial topics were chosen by consensus of the three-person Opinions Board, which no longer exists. The change in policy from consensus to majority made the process more representative, as the Opinions Board included 3 editors, while the current Editorial Board has 12 members. Achieving consensus with this larger group would be infeasible, and so it was decided that editorials would represent the majority; there was no intention of silencing any opinion. Such editorial policies are, moreover, the norm amongst college newspapers, including the Harvard Crimson and the Yale Daily News.

Discussions within the Editorial Board are confidential, as editors must feel free to express themselves honestly without fear of any personal consequence. The nature of the Editorial Board relies on trust, which the Phoenix takes very seriously. Editorials do not and cannot represent the view of any editor or subset of editors, they represent the Phoenix, and so internal discussions of the Editorial Board must remain confidential.

In order to clear up any other questions that there might be for the Phoenix, we will be accepting questions on our Facebook page and by email at opinions@swarthmorephoenix.com. We will print answers to questions that we receive by email or by Facebook message; any reasonable question posted publicly to our Facebook page will receive a public answer. We will not accept anonymous submissions, we find public debate to be more productive. We aim to be completely open, to be as transparent as possible.

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