Staff Editorial: Conflicts of Interest in The Mac Weekly

As a student run publication at a school the size of ours, conflicts of interest frequently arise. We all know that last semester was an intense one for Macalester, from actions taken against KWOC to Wang Ping’s lawsuit to Lara Nielsen’s denied tenure appeal. Here at The Mac Weekly we are very aware that much of the information you receive on such topics comes from our reporting, and as the only independent news publication on campus we take that responsibility incredibly seriously. We’re not the Times, but we follow strict journalism ethics with our readership in mind.

This makes reporting on such a small, yet active campus tricky sometimes. When our best reporter wants to cover KWOC’s progress, it is hard to say no to him just because he lives with some of the activists involved. Similarly, when an English major is editing a story on English Professor Wang Ping’s lawsuit against the school, we can’t make him change his major for the occasion.

In spite of these potential deterrents, we pledge to continue to try as hard as possible to cover important issues and connect with key sources, and to assign available and eligible reporters to such stories.
We ask that you not read this as our excuse to cross ethical boundaries. Instead, this editorial is an acknowledgement and assurance that we are actively aware of the potential pitfalls of conflicts of interests on a campus as small and engaged as Macalester. As such, we have no future plans to have Associate News Editor Joe Klein write our next KWOC piece, News Editor Jonathan McJunkin will never spotlight MPIRG and Managing Editor Danny Surman will never write about MacGOP (or politics in general) for News.

Rather, we ask that you take pride in these multifaceted peers who are eager to serve our school through a variety of activities. Those issues that would raise potential conflicts of interest will be relegated to the Opinion section, and attributed to the individual to whom those opinions belong. News is unpredictable in its nature, but we promise to transparently navigate around the conflicts of interest that are bound to arise.