Acknowledging our mistakes
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Admitting mistakes is always a hard thing to do. It’s awkward, extremely uncomfortable and usually comes about because someone else was affected. It happens to the best of us, and even to journalists at The Independent Collegian. Our story last week, “Job search struggles,” affected those in the Career Services department in ways that we did not intend.
One issue with the story was the headline and subhead, which were both misleading and did not reflect the tone or direction of the article. Unfortunately, a lot of issues with this piece seemed amplified because of them. As the start of the piece, it set an expectation that was not backed up by facts and numbers.
The story was comprised of mostly student opinions. Our intention was to give voice to students; we wanted to know their opinions of on-campus jobs and how well holding minimum wage positions allow them to pay for tuition. There was a paraphrase we included in the article that we should not have because we could not back it up, but other than that, the opinions stated belonged to the students we interviewed and accurately explain their views. However, the lack of context left these quotes open to interpretation in ways that reflected negatively on Career Services.
Having mentioned this, it is important to note that we should have found students who had great success with on-campus jobs or employment found through Rocket Jobs. We should have spoken with the director of the department instead of the job location specialist, and we should have spoken with her after interviewing the students instead of before. Had we done so, she would have been able to respond to the opinions of the students and provide us with concrete numbers and facts about Career Services and Rocket Jobs.