Letter from the editor: A promise to be transparent, honest

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Vibrant pink and purple flowers blossom in front of Hale Library after a long, cold winter. (Brooke Barrett | Collegian Media Group)

Wildcats,

As the spring semester begins, let’s start off by welcoming everyone back to campus for what is sure to be another great semester at Kansas State.

For those of you who are new to campus, my name is Kaylie McLaughlin, and I have the privilege of serving as the editor-in-chief of the Collegian — the independent student voice of K-State. After close to three semesters in this role, I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it.

Recently, and especially over winter break, the Collegian has been working diligently to create a concise social media and digital policy that matches the requirements of a rapidly changing field of engagement, and anticipates how future technologies might affect student journalism. The fact of the matter is that students are coming to us from social media — and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

The best parts of social media allow us to connect in ways that were unthinkable less than 20 years ago, and give us real time feedback about the body of work we are putting out. But at the same time, it also opens the floodgates to a shaming culture and different kinds of pressures that can compromise journalistic integrity or force editorial decisions.

More or less, this new policy is us putting our foot down — in the name of integrity, of course. The Collegian will not take down stories from our social media accounts or our website. In the same way that print stories cannot be deleted from the record, neither should online stories.

This policy, which will also dictate the digital conduct of the writers and editors who work at the Collegian, has been modeled off of practice or guidelines that already exist in peer and professional newsrooms. This isn’t so much a change for the Collegian as it is us catching up to industry standard.

The act of deletion, even when there is a mistake, is disingenuous and subverts transparency. When mistakes are made, clear corrections will be issued that highlight changes and state what was erroneous in the article. When it is warranted, new stories may be published with a corrected record if it protects clarity and honesty.

In this process, the Collegian is vowing to take responsibility for its mistakes — which are bound to happen no matter how hard we work to prevent them — but make clear what is true.

This letter and this new policy is part of a continued effort and a renewal of our vows to be transparent and honest.

That being said, most of what the Collegian does will not change. In about 125 years of history, the Collegian has been devoted to elevating the student voice at K-State, and has endured by virtue of the student body’s input. As has always been the case, we are open to your feedback, suggestions, opinions and news tips.

If you wish to share an opinion, our community editor Olivia Rogers can be reached at letters@kstatecollegian.com. If you have a news tip or wish that we would cover something specific, send it directly to news@kstatecollegian.com. If there’s an area in which you feel the Collegian is falling short, reach out to the editorial staff by emailing collegian@kstatecollegian.com or stop by our newsroom in Kedzie 116.

Best,

Kaylie McLaughlin

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Kaylie Mclaughlin
My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the Editor in Chief of the Collegian. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a junior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage. I am fueled by a lot of coffee and I spend my (sparse) free time watching stand-up comedy.