College Media Overblown Holocaust Award, Fall 2009

This is the fourth installment of a multi-post glimpse back at the highlights and lowlights of fall 2009 in collegemediatopia.

Overblown Holocaust AwardHarvard Crimson

In what its editors called “a logistical failure not a philosophical one,” the Harvard Crimson ran a Holocaust denial ad in a single print edition early last semester. It was a production snafu that the professional press badly sensationalized.  For example, the photo accompanying a CNN story on the mistake literally included smokestacks from what is left of the former Birkenau concentration camp, a horrifically off-kilter visual that appeared to place the newspaper (and according to the lede sentence, the entire university) in opposition to the atrocities that occurred there and elsewhere during World War II.

Runner-up honors to a satirical newspaper at Reed College. The pub ran an article joking about the start of a new U.S.-based Holocaust, spurring criticism and fierce debate. According to one report, the piece intended to spoof the rash of Holocaust deniers, but as sometimes happens all readers did not get the joke.  In a statement on the newspaper’s Web site, the editors wrote, “We are not hateful people. We are college students who write a joke newspaper in our free time. One joke we wrote went too far and we are sorry to those who were hurt. Everyone needs to stop wasting time and just get on with their lives. Thanks.”

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