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Protest vs. President-elect coverage

by on November 17, 2016

In the past week or so, ever since Donald Trump was named the President-elect, the UMass Amherst campus, as well as the town of Amherst as a whole, has been busy. Almost every day there has been as least one protest, rally, or case of activism.

One critique that I have heard a few times, both in person and on social media, is that newsrooms such as the Massachusetts Daily Collegian are spending too much time and space on covering these protests, and not enough on Donald Trump and what he is doing now that he is elected. The argument is that covering all of the protests and spending so much energy covering them shows a bias in the newsroom.

Is it bias, or just covering the local news of what is going on on campus? Would going the other way and deciding to cover some protests but not others be a bias as well? What should be covered as far as Donald Trump’s newest actions?

Personally I believe that as a campus newspaper it is important to cover what is going on in the immediate campus community, and right now that happens to be protests and activism. That does not mean that Trump should be ignored, but I don’t believe he is being ignored. The job of a campus newspaper is to cover campus news foremost, and then incorporate the national news, since they are usually linked.

Here is some of the Daily Collegian’s protest/activism/election coverage in the past week:

UMass protests president-elect and pushes for sanctuary campus

Bathroom stalls in Whitmore occupied during first day of Gender Liberation Union actions

Citizens come together in Amherst for peaceful demonstration against Dakota Access Pipeline

Students of Amherst Regional High School walkout in solidarity after election results

UMass holds public forum to discuss election results and impact going forward

Students come together for ‘Ignite Your Right: Humanity Against Trump’ event

UMass students react to results of the 2016 election

Community gathers in solidarity following election results

Amherst crowd holds candlelight vigil following election results

Crowd of more than a hundred gathers to protest Trump election

Should campus newspapers be more focused on the events happening on campus, no matter their affiliation, or should they refrain in order to not appear biased?

 

 

 

 

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4 Comments
  1. Like you mentioned, I don’t think that it is necessarily being biased if most of the news coverage is on people reacting to the election. I also think that it would make sense for campus newspaper to cover stories about what is happening in the community. Although, I could understand why some people would find it biased since there could be Trump supporters in the community. Since most coverage is on how much hate reaction exists instead of Trump’s next steps into the position, some might feel as if their interest aren’t being informed and only those of the protestor allies. However, I personally don’t believe that there is a bias in mostly telling those news, but even as someone who is against Trump, I would like to see a bit more news of Trump’s plans and actions to be aware of what is happening.

  2. This is difficult because Trump hasn’t really done anything yet. He is starting to plan but obviously hasn’t implemented anything yet. The Daily Collegian is a local newspaper and the reporters are covering what is the local news, but the newspaper also includes stories from other news sources. Potentially, the best option for the Collegian would be getting an article from a news source that is able to interview Donald Trump and learn more about what they’re doing. The best option would obviously be for one of our own reporters interviewing Trump, but that may be a very difficult task.
    It is important for the newspaper to avoid bias, and the op/ed section definitely leans left because the campus, as well as Massachusetts as a whole, tends to be democratic. But we do need to acknowledge that there are Trump supporters on campus and in the area, so it would be important to make sureTrump’s policies are covered. News covers the local rallies and protests but I think some news should cover Trump.

  3. This is an interesting observation. I agree with everyones opinions, it is unfair to call this bias reporting. A campus paper covers its campus. If there were pro-Trump rally’s on campus those would get just as much coverage. You can’t expect The Collegian to cover news that isn’t happening. Also, Obama is still in office which is easy to forget, and Trump at this point is just conversing with his colleagues up in is tower, so not much information is able to be covered. I think this situation is new to everyone and no one yet knows exactly how to handle everything that is going on. I agree with what Sam said about acknowledging that there are Trump supporters on and around campus, but it isn’t that plausible to cover everything Trump is doing from Amherst, Massachusetts. I think Trumps “next steps” are still cooking and there isn’t a whole lot to cover just yet.

  4. griffc permalink

    I think it makes sense for them to report on the protests at first because it’s our campus, and if this is happening, then it’s important to cover. However, you can’t continue to give these people the platform in the paper and online. The cause they’re protesting is democracy, and to continue giving them the attention they’re seeking, you’re feeding into this pandemonium that has been birthed from the presidential election. People are unhappy, but nothing is going to change. It’s far more important to begin reporting on the new President and what his real ideas are and how they impact the common college student. Protests crave attention, and after awhile, you have to cut them off, in my humble opinion.

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