As I've said before, the objectivity-fetishizing conventions of straight
news reporting make me crazy. It's not just the odd philosophical
throwback of implying that reporters can somehow avoid writing as
particular people situated in particular contexts. It's also the
convoluted copy, in which even plain facts can't be stated plainly if
they happen to be unpopular.
So I was glad when NPR released its new ethics handbook,
in which among other things the network states that it favors "truth"
over "the appearance of balance" and adds that "if the balance of
evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we
acknowledge it in our reports."
lawyers for University of Virginia student George Huguely said
their client was a "stupid drunk," not a killer. He was widely known to have a
history of abusing alcohol--hardly a rarity on college campuses. Huguely was
convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison for
killing his girlfriend, Yeardley Love, after a day of nonstop drinking.
case highlighted yet again the problem of rampant alcohol abuse on campus--and
the situation of friends and bystanders who know perfectly well that someone
has a drinking problem but don't care or know how to intervene.
unveiled the iPad 3 last week; it's scheduled to be released today. On Sunday
the company announced that pre-ordered devices were sold out.
The news came weeks after Apple's annual shareholders' meeting, at which it reported that it has nearly $100 billion in
its latest triumphs, the company continues to face criticism over labor
practices at Foxconn and its other suppliers in China. While such allegations
are not new, recent reports by This
American Lifeand the New
York Times have raised public awareness of long hours, low
wages, cramped dormitories and hazardous working conditions that have resulted
in deaths and injuries for Chinese employees.
In 1838 the Jesuits who ran Georgetown University sold 272 slaves in order to keep the school afloat. The college relied on Jesuit plantations in Maryland to finance the school, and slaves were sometimes given to the Jesuits by parishioners. The sale of the slaves in 1838 would be worth $3.3 million today. The university is considering what, if anything, it owes the descendants of those slaves. Richard Cellini, a Georgetown alumnus and CEO of a technology firm, has established a nonprofit organization and hired eight genealogists to track down those slaves and their descendants. A university group is also studying how Georgetown could make amends for its involvement in slavery (New York Times, April 16).