Friday evening found me at an indoor track meet, a typical start to my weekends throughout the winter. The Pleiad had published three articles earlier that day, three articles which I had edited and was excited to put out.
What I didn’t know at the time, however, was that misinformation lingered in one of the articles that had not been edited as thoroughly as I believed it to be at the time of publication.
Shortly after the article was put up on the website, feedback began to roll in, citing multiple inaccuracies throughout the article. Instantly, I hit my internal panic button. I didn’t know what to do.
In the fall, our publication made a different editing error in one of our print editions. I felt that same fear and panic I had when I saw that error, printed permanently for the community to see, rising within me on Friday. Guilt set in, followed by stress. I didn’t know how to make things right when the publication of an article I’d hoped would be received well had upset the very audience our publication was trying to please.
What you didn’t see behind the scenes is that prior to the article’s publication, the Pleiad staff was filled with excitement. We felt that we were supporting Alpha Kappa Alpha by announcing the recruitment process to students through the press. I understand now that our factual errors took away from that, and it saddens me that our intentions did not match the reception of the article.
As both a media producer and a media consumer, I’ve seen both sides of how the press operates. I know how difficult and frustrating it can be when the media gets something wrong, but what it boils down to is that we’re all human. We all make mistakes.
When it came to righting the wrongs The Pleiad had made through the article published on Friday, this is what I reminded myself of. Even as journalists, we are human, and thus we are fallible. Though our mistakes might hurt people, though they might offend people when we do not intend for them to do such a thing, unfortunately, it happens.
When that is the case, it is not our responsibility to feel sorry for ourselves. We cannot stay frozen, panicking and worried about what to do next. It’s our responsibility to find the next right thing to do, to move forward, make things right and learn so we don’t repeat those mistakes in the future.
I’m appreciative of those who point out our mistakes so we can learn and grow from them as a publication.
To anyone hurt, upset or offended by the publication of the Alpha Kappa Alpha article, I’m deeply sorry. While that was not our intention, I recognize that there’s a difference between intention and reception.
As authors of the articles you read, we have predetermined ideas of the impact we want our words to have, in the end, it’s the audience’s interpretation of our words that carry the biggest message, not the words themselves.
Please know that in this, our publication sees opportunity: opportunity to learn and become better.
I thank you for your patience as we worked to correct the article, and I hope that you can be patient with us as well. As student journalists, we are nowhere near perfect. We are, however, trying our hardest to report fairly and accurately. We are students, though. And as students, we are still learning.
One article does not define a journalist, and one mistake does not define a publication. It is what we do moving forward that defines us, and The Pleiad fully intends to use this as an opportunity to improve going forward.