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The Daily Northwestern Apology Is A Harbinger

The students at Northwestern remind us that graduates are increasingly shaping the so-called real world into a version of their campuses.


“Wait until they get into the real world,” has long been the cliche, uttered knowingly by elders greeted with news of campus madness. It’s time to retire that sentiment. Far from being tempered by the harsh realities of post-college life, graduates are increasingly shaping the so-called real world into a version of their campuses, importing far-left standards into newsrooms and boardrooms.

This is why it’s important to watch what’s happening on campuses. A particularly striking example comes to us this week courtesy of the students at Northwestern University. The staff of The Daily Northwestern issued an apology on Sunday for its coverage of a Nov. 5 speech by Jeff Sessions.

We recognize that we contributed to the harm students experienced, and we wanted to apologize for and address the mistakes that we made that night — along with how we plan to move forward.

One area of our reporting that harmed many students was our photo coverage of the event. Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive. Those photos have since been taken down.

“Ultimately,” they wrote, “The Daily failed to consider our impact in our reporting surrounding Jeff Sessions. We know we hurt students that night, especially those who identify with marginalized groups.”

This is a group of students at one of the country’s top journalism schools apologizing for publishing pictures of a protest and agreeing with the notion that basic reporting is so hurtful it’s not worth doing. As the New York Times reports, some professional journalists have pushed back on The Daily’s apology. But others have not.

Over at Harvard University, the student government this week voted to support a boycott of The Crimson because the paper sought comment from ICE, as is standard journalistic practice (and for good reason).

One need only browse the leaks from legacy outlets like the New York Times and The Atlantic, where staffers want to purge insufficiently progressive writers, to see dangerous attitudes are already influencing major newsrooms. (As for boardrooms, recall the fate James Damore met at Google.)

Editors and managers seem to either be sympathetic or overwhelmed by the prospect of angry staffers accusing them of aiding and abetting bigotry, which is exactly what would happen. Of course, that’s no good argument for indulging these absurdities, but it’s helpful in understanding why campus silliness is increasingly migrating into the workplace. Character assassination is a powerful weapon, and graduates are trained to use it, wittingly or otherwise.

We’ll need some collective backbone to stave these trends off.