Letter to the Editor | Spectrum Has Lost Focus

As former section editors of The Spectrum and journalism graduates of North Dakota State, we feel compelled to write how today’s staff of The Spectrum has apparently lost its focus and commitment to deliver news affecting students and employees of NDSU.

On Monday, The Spectrum published an edition addressing various themes and issues of sex and romance. Articles therein included an interview with a woman who has apparently experienced sexual assault, various stories about pornography, sexual transmitted infections and contraception.

On Saturday night, two NDSU students died in a crash near Moorhead. Such news is probably the most important a student newspaper will ever cover, and yet The Spectrum apparently had no such coverage in its Monday, Feb. 13, edition.

Worse still, the newspaper had not reported on the deaths of first-year students Danie Leigh Thomssen and Carson Dennis Roney on its Facebook or Twitter as of early Monday afternoon. NDSU social media did address Thomssen and Roney’s deaths by Sunday afternoon.

When exactly was The Spectrum going to report on this tragic incident? What prevented the newspaper from even briefing the crash in its Monday paper? The incident report was available online as soon as 3 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 12.

The Spectrum’s initial goal, as stated online, is to “acquaint the people of our state with what we have been doing along the different lines of study. It is also the aim of the management, that by glancing back over the separate numbers of this monthly, we will have before us practically a complete history of the institution of that period.”

We understand that a newspaper full of stories about sex may be considered “edgy” or “contemporary” with other styles of journalism; however, The Spectrum is a student publication. Journalists, writers and reporters in training need experience before graduating and attaining a job in their field. The Spectrum serves that role.

Furthermore, the abandonment of a half-week’s worth of news items (with material as considerable as students’ deaths) to take up topics considered personal and intimate to many is shoddy, sloppy and disrespectful. The deaths of students should not be overlooked by such subjects as pornography, dating tips and condoms.

As Spectrum alumni, we are frankly embarrassed by the newspaper’s Monday, Feb. 13, edition. We request the newspaper return to regular, complete coverage of NDSU news.

Thank you,

Jack Dura

Pace Maier

Spectrum alumni

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