The UM watchdog for fraternities


The last issue of The Miami Hurricane published an editorial about the danger of fraternities. The last event that made the newspaper pay attention to fraternities was the death of a Florida State University student Nov. 3 after attending a fraternity party.

An editorial is opinion, so journalists have more freedom to speak about some topics, because they just present their opinion but they base it on facts. The importance of an editorial, though, mostly lies in the point of view.

In this editorial titled “Fraternity culture poses danger to students” in the print version, the staff is aware that it can be accused of “fake news,” so it defends itself before any reaction can show up.

Here you can find the online version of the article:

The editorial staff reveals some examples of games that are played in UM fraternities to take a position opposing them and then to suggest solutions.

As they can’t prove that these games actually happen, so they defend the argument by saying: “Even if these hazing practices only amount to rumors, the fact that they are so widely circulated without any generalized outrage condones and perpetuates such behavior.”

The article ends with a warning that the staff will keep reporting about fraternities, but also looking for sources that back up their point of view or suggest even better solutions.

They are taking the editorial role that they serve in their community seriously, in this case  the UM campus. Journalists have the responsibility to report about the things that are not working in their community and give voice to people that suffer because of these issues. They are called the Fourth Estate and watchdogs because they willingly monitor and report about the actions and inactions of the people in charge.

So, in my opinion, they are doing what they should do, but prematurely. As they say twice that they are aware that this information can be called rumors or fake news. And, at the end of the editorial, they ask readers to contact them with related stories.

This way, the editorial loses some credibility. It would have been easier and more professional if they had identified sources and prepared one or more news stories to back up the editorial. In that manner, they would gain authority to opine about it.