Letter from the editor: The Daily Wildcat addresses demands for public apology after ASUA election coverage

The Daily Wildcat published an article online on March 1 recapping the Associated Students of the University of Arizona presidential debate. There was a consensus among editors to have a reporter pick a winner of the debate, which received numerous responses in the days following. We received many emails asking for public acknowledgement and an apology.

I would like to thank those members of the UA community for sharing their responses. The Daily Wildcat cannot improve without feedback, both positive and critical, and always welcomes constructive letters and contributions.

I’d also like to highlight how the Daily Wildcat went about covering the election this year and why we stand by the work of our editors, reporters, photographers and videographers.

Our goals were to provide complete and accurate coverage, give all contested candidates the opportunity to have their platforms and policies heard and not to endorse any candidate.

We utilized print and online media to promote student engagement in the democratic process via full-page spreads of candidates in every print issue throughout February, videos of the debates in the closing week of the election and full, breaking coverage of results.

We decided to have the reporter who covered the elections from start to finish be the one to ultimately pick a winner of the debate, only the debate and nothing more than the debate.

In an era of ever-changing media, transparency may even be more valuable than a feigned attempt at objectivity. In asking our reporter, who had the most insight into the candidates, their policies and what to expect that night, to provide an instant analysis of the debate, we chose transparency.

It was never the Daily Wildcat’s intention, however, to endorse a candidate for presidency. We feel we accurately and impartially covered all candidate’s platforms and policies through over a month of reporting, which extended far beyond the article in question.

The emails we received specifically criticized the Daily Wildcat of “endorsing a candidate for the ASUA presidency position.”

It is important to note the history of news outlets making endorsements. The Daily Wildcat has traditionally endorsed candidates for all positions, including specific descriptions of why one should vote for one candidate over another.

Endorsements among news media are a standard occurrence. These include years of our supporting ASUA candidates, the Arizona Daily Star’s endorsing Tucson Union School District governing board candidates and the New York Times’ endorsing presidential candidates.

After asking a reporter who was covering the debate and had done extensive reporting throughout the election to pick a winner of one event that specific night, I stand by our editorial board's decision to not provide endorsements. 

I will admit that our best-intended plans may not have perfectly aligned with the end result, but I stand by my reporters, editors and the rest of my dedicated staff in their respective coverages of the ASUA election.


Dominic Baciocco is a journalism senior and editor-in-chief of the Daily Wildcat. Follow him on Twitter.



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