Daily Collegian at PSU Declines to Participate in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for Ethical Reasons
The Daily Collegian at Penn State University has declined to participate in the making of an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, saying it “calls into question our integrity as an impartial reporter of the news.” For similar reasons, the paper will also not make a donation to The ALS Association.
As I previously posted, The Daily Iowan crew at the University of Iowa recently recorded a humorous Ice Bucket Challenge video that includes shrieks, a brief water balloon fight and a call-to-arms for other college media to join in the fun. The Daily Collegian was one of the outlets nominated by Daily Iowan editor-in-chief Jordyn Reiland to take part in the icy awesomeness.
In an editorial response, Daily Collegian staffers splashed cold water on any challenge plans, contending that for the campus pub to cover the ongoing social media movement comprehensively and objectively it must not appear to be part of it.
The gist of their explanation to readers:
“Though we certainly support those who have taken the challenge in an attempt to #StrikeOutALS, we feel our participation in it not only calls into question our integrity as an impartial reporter of the news, but it misdirects the focus at ourselves, when it should be on the disease and those suffering from it. So we will refrain from taking on the challenge, because to make a video would be to make ourselves the story, and to donate would be to compromise our standard as an unbiased news organization. Some of our staff members have already taken the challenge, and we encourage our staff and readers who feel strongly to partake as individuals. But as an organization, we have to respectfully decline.”
The DC’s decision is also linked in the editorial to a push for the PSU community, the general public and the press to more carefully consider all aspects of the challenge — not just the giggly goodness, donations and video shares that have received the most attention.
As editors argued, “[T]he campaign’s success doesn’t mean there isn’t room to more closely examine it. While some have made donations to the cause, others have merely posted videos of themselves dumping ice on their heads without any reference to ALS. And though the challenge has raised awareness about it, this awareness frequently seems to stop at knowing that ‘ALS is a bad disease.'”
What do you think of the Daily Collegian decision and the rationales behind it?