Student Newspaper’s Sexual Assault Sidebar Slip “a Doozy”

A sidebar run with a recent front-page story package on sexual assault in The Iowa State Daily mistakenly stated that as long as they give their consent it is OK to have sex with individuals who are unconscious, asleep, mentally or physically handicapped, drugged out, crazy drunk or under 16.  Yikes.

The sidebar listing those categories of people was supposed to sport the headline, “Who Cannot Give Consent?”  Unfortunately, in print, the NOT was not there.  Instead, the bolded hed asked, “Who Can Give Consent?

The apparently innocent mistake of #epicfail proportions has stirred cringes, criticism, and sarcasm across Iowa State University’s campus and the web, including Twitter and The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “Tweed” blog.  The “Tweed” post specifically called the error “a doozy” and, mockingly, one of the “Great Moments in Student Journalism.”

The Daily has posted an editor’s note atop the online story, confirming, “In the version of this story that was published in print on Jan. 12, 2011, a sidebar was mistakenly headlined. The sidebar, ‘Who cannot give consent?’ was headlined, in print, as ‘Who can give consent?’ This headline error, of course, dramatically changes the meaning of the information presented in the sidebar, and the Daily deeply regrets the error.”

My take: Hey, it happens.  Don’t let it distract from what appears to be a well-written story and nice design.  I’ve come across separate complaints about the main photo.  On spec, I’m a fan.  It’s provocative without being sensational and captures the story’s news hook and general tone perfectly.

Comments
3 Responses to “Student Newspaper’s Sexual Assault Sidebar Slip “a Doozy””
  1. Nate says:

    Umm, that design is atrocious.

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback on the issue. For anyone who’s interested, here’s a note about the situation:

    http://iowastatedaily.com/blogs/editors_note/article_701675b4-21a6-11e0-83bd-001cc4c002e0.html

    Jessie Opoien
    Editor in Chief
    Iowa State Daily

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  1. […] January, a sidebar run with a front-page story package on sexual assault in The Iowa State Daily mistakenly stated that as long as they give their consent it is OK to have sex with individuals who are unconscious, […]



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