Letter from the editor: why we devoted our front page to the protesters

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Letter from the editor: why we devoted our front page to the protesters

DGN social worker Brian Kittenger holds a blanket over an anti-abortion protester's sign.

DGN social worker Brian Kittenger holds a blanket over an anti-abortion protester's sign.

DGN social worker Brian Kittenger holds a blanket over an anti-abortion protester's sign.

DGN social worker Brian Kittenger holds a blanket over an anti-abortion protester's sign.

Matt Troher, Editor-In-Chief

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When I arrived at school on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 5, I was jarred by the scene unfolding in front of the school. Before I had the chance to react as a journalist, I reacted as a person. I am not squeamish, but once I saw the images shown to us against our will, I felt physically sick. My stomach started churning and my knees turned to jelly. But what felt worse than the physical sensation itself was knowing that’s exactly how the protesters wanted me to feel.

The decision to cover this protest was a tough one, and going into it I knew I would be subject to much criticism. There was much internal debate, both between the staff of The Omega and within myself, as to whether we should even run the story at all.

Ultimately, we decided that covering a newsworthy event that impacted the community as a whole is our duty as a student newspaper.

When I began covering the situation, I worried, believing that I would be giving the protesters a platform or giving the protesters exactly what they want. Alternatively, the journalist in me sought a fair, balanced story.

I decided that The Omega’s coverage of the protests would focus on the event itself as well as the community’s reaction to the event, not the message the protesters were trying to force upon students.

We as journalists have no obligation to give a platform to those who choose to spread their message through hateful and abusive rhetoric, nor should we try and ignore newsworthy events happening on the steps of our school.

The Omega does not have a view on abortion, as we are a collective of individual student voices. As for myself, my views on abortion are neither here nor there. I did my due diligence to cover this event from as objective of a standpoint as possible.

I firmly believe that due to the events of those cold mornings in early December, the DGN community came closer together than ever before. A dialogue was opened, not the one that the protesters expected us to have, but a conversation about the right to freedom of speech and how to do one’s duty as a proactive citizen.