December 1, 2020

Letter from the Editors: The Journal keeps itself accountable

As the student news source for Webster University, The Journal is responsible for covering stories on campus and in the Webster Groves community. We report and write to inform, entertain, educate and create important dialogue on campus.

We, the editors, takes this responsibility seriously. We hold the decision makers on campus and elsewhere accountable. As a source of information for Webster University students, staff, faculty and alumni, as well as Webster Groves community members, The Journal editors recognize the impact Journal stories can have on the community.

We, the editors, hold ourselves accountable for our mistakes. In our previous issue, The Journal published a story that contained errors significant enough to warrant this letter.

The story, “Make the most of a student ID,” contained multiple errors and misleading information. The writer fabricated a source and created a fake last name for another source. The writer also plagiarized a website, which she used as the basis for the story’s information. The factual errors in the story can be found in this issue’s Opinions section, under “Corrections.”

The writer was suspended from The Journal staff, and her re-acceptance to the staff is pending review. The story was removed from The Journal’s website, websterjournal.com, on Friday, Nov. 16.

In light of this event, The Journal editors are reviewing The Journal’s editing processes.

The Journal editors accept responsibility for not identifying these mistakes before they were published. We apologize for the mistakes made, and we especially apologize to those who went to any of the business locations and expected a student discount. The Journal also apologizes to the businesses affected by this story.

We, the editors, understand the seriousness of these mistakes and are working to ensure a similar situation does not happen in the future.

Writers are now required to turn in phone numbers of sources with every story. If anything comes into question with sources (name spelling, quote verification, etc.), Journal editors will call sources to verify information in question.

The Journal editors, after this event, will make a concerted effort to edit stories more carefully. More time and effort will be spent on editing and fact-checking each story. This is a commitment we made as an editorial board, and we hold ourselves accountable as we “buckle down.” We hope readers and sources hold us accountable as well.

As journalists, we ask our readers to trust us and trust that the stories we write are accurate. We understand the trust and credibility we have built has been potentially tarnished. In our effort to improve our editing process, The Journal hopes to regain any trust lost.

The Journal’s editor-in-chief, Brittany Ruess, can be contacted at

websterjournal@gmail.com.

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