Wake Forest Student Editor’s Hazing Report Spurs Campus Dialogue, ‘Hostile Response’

As part of a final project for a journalism class at Wake Forest University, Molly Dutmers recently put together a news report that has drawn oodles of attention and successfully started “a dialogue about hazing on campus.”

1The piece premiered earlier this month in the Old Gold & Black, Wake Forest’s student newspaper, where Dutmers (left) is segueing from online managing editor to editor-in-chief. It earned a pick-up from The Huffington Post and a spin-off story in local media. It has also spurred some impassioned campus debate, an act of temporary newspaper theft and so many online comments containing “inflammatory remarks, personal attacks on the writer, inconsiderate remarks about non-affiliated students and people pretending to be someone they are not” that the paper briefly shut down its comments section.

When we spoke last week, Dutmers was not yet sure if she had earned an ‘A’ for the report.

Regardless of the final grade she receives, it is clear her work has had an impact — embodying the OGB’s mantra “that discussion is a positive tool for change to occur.” The report’s lede:

“Trapped in a basement. Stuck living in a pen created for animals with a dozen other grown men. Forced to eat inedible food only from a trough. Ordered to sit in other people’s vomit. This sounds like a scene out of a horror movie, but it is actually a scene from a fraternity ritual at Wake Forest University.”

Yowza.

In a new podcast chat, Dutmers discusses her reporting process for the hazing feature, outlines related ethical entanglements and offers some advice for student journalists eager to similarly dig into the underbelly of their schools.

Comments are closed.