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UCSB Student Paper Unbelievably Decides Not To Cover Isla Vista Rampage

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Vigil Held At UCLA For Santa Barbara Shooting Rampage VictimsIn the wake of the violence surrounding the University of California at Santa Barbara last weekend, something unbelievable happened; the UCSB student paper decided not to cover any of it. That’s right – a place where future journalists are groomed made the editorial decision not to cover the worst thing that’s happened to their school – probably ever. My sister, a two-time Pulitzer nominee said last night, “It’s not too late to change your majors….please do so immediately.”

The editors of the student-government run paper said in an op-ed:

After extensive discussions among our Editorial Staff, advisor and alumni, we have decided to not immediately publish an article on the recent tragedy in our community of Isla Vista to minimize the emotional harm for our reporters, photographers and multimedia journalists. Before we are journalists, we are Gauchos and feel we need our time to mourn, process and recover from this senseless violence.

The op-ed then refers their readers to Twitter: “For those who would like up-to-the-minute news, please follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/tblucsb.” So they live-tweeted it, but didn’t write any articles. Not one was published regarding the crimes until May 26th, three days after the rampage happened.

CalBuzz’s Jerry Roberts says, “The paper surely has done no favors for anyone on its staff who aspires to be a working journalist by abandoning the field, along with its role as a community news source. Wrong, wrong, wrong.”

Someone has to report the news – however horrible it is. Actually, the more horrible it is, the more desperate people are to understand what is going on. These journalism students failed their campus community. They are trying to cover their asses now by updating their editorial:

The Op-Ed that TBL published on May 25, 2014, “Op-Ed: Why We Have Not Yet Published Anything on the Isla Vista Shooting,” was written by a previous Executive Content Editor, and was approved to be posted by a few members of our current editorial board, but without consultation with our advisor and the majority of the editorial board. In a mentally and emotionally compromised state, the editors directly involved in the publication of the Op-Ed misjudged the situation. Even though said piece is an Op-Ed, we effectively allowed someone who is not currently involved with TBL to speak for us and define our coverage of the Isla Vista tragedy.

Then they go ahead and throw a few people under the bus. Just say, “We made a massive error in journalistic judgment and are working to fix that now,” or something.

The journalist has to push through these awful situations and get the story – it’s why I could never do it. I’m too much of a bleeding heart. It’s why I admire my sister so much – who sees so much tragedy on a daily basis and reports it fairly and without bias. I hope these students either just learned a massive lesson regarding their role as journalists – or abandon the field completely. The half-ass apology and blame game on top of it all is just – not good.

(photo: Getty Images)