North Texas Daily Tells Readers Why It Didn’t Run Alleged Frat Hazing Story

When is alleged fraternity hazing not worth reporting? When the principal source doesn’t pass muster and all the facts don’t appear to add up.

The North Texas Daily at the University of North Texas posted an interesting editor’s note yesterday explaining the paper’s rationale for not publishing details of a reputed frat hazing hullaballoo. ThinkProgress just ran a related story, calling the frat’s treatment of a former student pledge “appalling.”

Yet, according to the North Texas Daily editorial board, that student approached the paper first. While staffers of course saw the story he shared as potentially newsworthy and combustible, a number of details proved sketchy, the student’s motives seemed questionable and at one point his personal safety was deemed at risk.

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As the well-written editor’s note explained:

“In interactions with [the student source], the editors began to question his motives and wonder why he wanted to come out to the news media about his mistreatment two years after the fact. We moved with caution, yet were inching toward publication until [the student source] called our editor, telling her he feared for his life and that his father had advised him to urge us not to run it. In an editorial decision that we still stand by, our editor gave the final word: the story was dead. Fast forward to July. [The student source] has made an about-face, and ThinkProgress ran the article, another unbalanced bodyslam attempt on fraternities.”

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