Our view: No reason for such negativity

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Recently, one of our best writers has received a considerable amount of negative attention for a column she wrote about drinking a Rockstar for the first time.

We would like to address some issues we have with this negative attention.

First of all, this happens periodically to Statesman writers. A considerable group of people at this university all get together with the goal seemingly to crush one of our writers. Our question is, why? For some reason this group decides they will feel better about whatever they have going on in their lives if they try to make life harder for a fellow student.

This perplexes us. We walk around campus, we interact with you, we try and provide news and entertainment through our website and paper. Yet for no apparent reason except to be destructive, some of you decide you will turn on your phones and belittle, demean and attack either the Statesman or one of our writers.

As an editorial staff, this frustrates us. We are protective of our writers and want them to feel like they can try new things and develop their voices. When Miranda approached us about this column, we thought it would be a good way for her to simply try something new.

Yes, we publish our stories in a public way and we should be prepared for public feedback. However, we would encourage someone to think about how they would like their work to be received if it were made public before they decide to be simply destructive toward another person’s work.

Second, there has been a lot of poking fun and attacking this writer because she was perceived as being Mormon. She is not. She is simply someone who made it this far in life without drinking an energy drink.

Even if she were Mormon, it would not be okay to attack a faith over an article that you did not necessarily enjoy. The fact that people have jumped down The Statesman’s and our writer’s throat for it is unacceptable and, frankly, foolish.

Miranda is a fantastic writer. She has even been approached with job opportunities for her writing. But that’s not the point. Regardless of her writing skill and voice, the mob-like attack on an individual is sickening. Why people feel like being rude for no reason other than for their own amusement is beyond us. They are the type of people that we are glad do not work for this organization.

Our writers are students and try new things and we encourage that. We applaud them for having the stones to put their work in the public eye. For them to be attacked behind the safety of a phone screen is downright cowardly.


There are 29 comments

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  1. Noelle

    The world would be a pretty incredible place if people stopped trying to drag everyone around them down. Thanks for addressing this.

  2. Fanny Alger

    A group that meets to decide which student writer to randomly attack for the fun of it? Where do they meet? I wanna join!

    Or you could put on your logical hat and try and realize why this article had the reaction it did, what exactly sparked those comments. And also understand how the process of something “going viral” works. But instead, you went with a persecution complex and tried to shame everyone for their behavior.

    • Mandy

      So shaming on all sides, then. It doesn’t seem right that personally attacking one person and real shaming is the same as standing up for someone and saying that all opinions matter unless they attack the very being of a person. Seems you’ve already joined the group, Fanny. Maybe step out for a minute and think about how you would like to be treated by your fellow human beings.

      • Yin

        Well said Mandy. I could not agree more. The upcoming behind-their-phones generation is so used to belittling (or should I say bullying) others on the internet, simply because they think they can say whatever they want when they are not in front of the other person. It is absurd.

  3. AB

    Thank you for the great work. Keep it up! Much respect to the author for her contributions to the statesman.

  4. Joe Sorrentino

    No reason for such negativity, but the Statesman itself just posted what seemed like a very negative article about homosexuality as being a sin this week. One would think that any halfway-decent campus in the 21st century would know better, especially considering how hard our access and diversity center works to dispel these kinds of negativities. Oh, but that’s right–the Statesman would rather support one girl who chose to publish an embarrassing story about Utah’s culture than the thousands of LGBTQ students it’s supposedly writing for. The Statesman’s editor should be fired for such fallacies.

    • Mandy

      It was not an article by the Statesman staff writers, it was a Letter to the Editor submission, and publishing that is just believing in free speech and a forum for people to share their opinions. A Letter to the Editor is in no way endorsed by the writers and editors of the Statesman, and if you have such a problem, please send us your opinion in another Letter to the Editor. Your views matter, as much as anyone else’s. Hate the view, not the person or the organization that allows sharing of opinion.

  5. Bracken Allen

    “For them to be attacked behind the safety of a phone screen is downright cowardly,” says the guy sitting behind a computer screen.

  6. Jason Whitaker

    Here’s my take…

    All writers (even those who work for the most prestigious publications) write stupid, uninteresting, and completely irrelevant things from time to time. In most cases, they never see the light of day. In this case, it was circulated for public consumption.

    Can there be any reasonable expectation that people won’t criticize poor journalism when they see it? Is it really fair for a paper to chide its readers because they don’t like the paper’s content?
    I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

    The woman who wrote this probably IS a good writer and she probably does produce great work on a regular basis. This time, she missed the mark. I think it would be unfortunate if this experience discourages her from continuing to write, but it shouldn’t be our responsibility as readers to coddle her. She’s an adult — you don’t need to rebuke those who are legitimately critical of her work.

    Which leads me to my main point– there’s a reason why editors exist. They’re there to decide when a writer’s work should see the light of day and when it would be better to revise it or put it through the digital shredder. The Statesman’s editor screwed the pooch here. No doubt about it. They can write all the open letters they want, but THEY should be the ones apologizing to that writer and to their readership.

    I’ve seen two unbelievable articles in your paper this week. This one was inane and ultimately harmless. But the recent letter to the editor attacking SCOTUS and “heterophobic homosexuals” was not only completely illogical (and poorly written), but also destructive and divisive. As a paper representing a student body with diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, you should have known better.

    Next time, instead of rebuking your readers for their negativity, do your job and give us something to be positive about.

  7. Big Blue

    I think this article is somewhat childish and incredibly unprofessional. When was the last time you saw the HJ or the SL Trib publish something defensive like this after receiving a few negative comments on an article?? Newswriting is meritocratic; if you don’t like negative feedback, don’t publish poor articles. If you disagree with people who think your article is poor, then ignore them. Criticizing those who express their opinion about an article is barely different than criticizing an article. The Statesman publishes a lot of valuable, high-quality content, but it also publishes a lot of poorly-written, uninspirational, uninteresting garbage that direly needs some trenchant criticism.

  8. Some Old Dude

    Well folks, these are our future leaders of nations and businesses. Internet trolls and tenderhearts. Looks like you have a solid handle on the important things in life. Good job college students!

    • Matt

      @ some old dude

      And we appreciate having to pick up the pieces of society after you crotchety, bitter old folks die because you screwed everything up. Hey thanks, we appreciate it.

  9. Christopher Nicholson

    Unless I’m mistaken, she was Mormon a year ago when I knew her, so I think the people who attributed her lack of caffeine exposure to religious upbringing were correct after all, though as you say, they were wrong to attack her for it. Other than that little nitpick, I agree with the sentiments expressed here and I’m sorry that they were necessary.

  10. Angela

    Re: the homophobic letter to the editor, Opinions and hate speech are not one and the same. And “free speech” does not dictate that Theodore has to publish every bit of hate-filled slime slung their way. They chose to do that. The Statesman should have known better than to publish that and it’s very hypocritical to support that letter by putting it in print, and then complain about hate speech against Mormons, or critical comments about their content.

  11. Kerry

    According to the statesman’s editor Jeffrey DahDah (dahdahjm@gmail.com),

    – All letters received by the Statesman are published because the paper wants to protect the 1st amendment.

    This was a response given by Mr. DahDah in response to being asked why a letter to the editor from the founder of a hate group (not from Utah) was published.

    It’s amazing that your office was flooded with complaints about the caffeine article, while the opinion section does not reflect this. Given you publish ALL of the letters you receive, it seems like these letters would take up much of your opinion space.

  12. Richard

    Dear Statesman,

    What people are more mad about is the fact that you have a “huge” distribution to many students that do care about issues and being informed. Defending your writers is the right thing to do, but this article is a sob story about how the first amendment hurt the very thing the first amendment allows you to do.

    If you want to be treated like the organization you think you are, maybe try acting like it and taking real opportunities to change students perspectives on more than energy drinks.

  13. Tenrab

    You walk around campus and interact with us! That’s very nice of you! What a privilege!

    Get off your high horse, editor with bad taste in writing and writers.


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