On keeping our story angles intact

Tuesday evenings – when we compile the paper – seem to consistently present the Argosy staff with unique challenges and dilemmas. Last week’s came in the form of deciding on whether or not to elaborate on a poster we mentioned in our March 17 story “Students share allegations of drink-tampering.”

We ultimately decided to keep the poster’s details to a minimum because elaborating on the poster in question, which was addressed to “Drink Spiker,” may have taken the focus of the article away from the alleged drink-tampering, thus altering the article’s angle and likely damaging its tone.

The story angle concerned reporting on students’ alleged experiences with substances being added to their drinks without their knowledge, as well as the ensuing comments from both the RCMP and Mount Allison’s student life office.

We were also concerned about the nature of the language used in the poster, which we see as an inappropriate response to a serious problem. We opted to not write in-depth about the poster despite feeling a certain responsibility to do so, since it was created in part because of our own inquiry into the alleged druggings that have taken place both on and off campus.

By their nature, stories of this scope often require that we write follow-up pieces to cover all aspects of whatever is being reported on. In this instance, an op-ed about the troubling language the poster used might be a good first step to addressing it. The poster is a part of the bigger-picture story, but discussing it in detail did not belong in last week’s particular article.

The poster read in part: “When we catch you (and we will cuz [sic] we are all watching our drinks and our friends’ drinks and our friends), your academic career may be in jeopardy and you may end up with a criminal record, too.” This reaction, while attempting to appeal to the “Drink Spiker” directly, uses language that does not adequately address the gravity of the situation at hand.

In any case, we feel a certain responsibility to inform you that we saw the poster, acknowledge its troubling language, but do not feel this kind of acknowledgement warrants inclusion in an investigative piece about drink-tampering.

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