Avid newspaper readers are drawn to the headlines because they’re copyediting savants. They know what we have all learned in print journalism classes: The headline is the hook to a story and will get some sort of reaction, whether good or bad.
When The Chronicle posted their headline about the Boston Marathon as “You’ve Gotta Run,” it incited a response that was incendiary to say the least. Maybe the sub-headline “Student shares experience at Boston Marathon” was not the best that could have been used. Social media responded immediately because the headline was viewed as a “punny” reference to a tragedy.
No one is downplaying the events of Patriots’ Day in Boston as anything but tragic, horrific, and disgusting. I often look at Hofstra as “Little Boston” because of all the proud Bostonians and New Englanders that live here. As a lifelong New Yorker, I admire and respect all that Boston has to offer.
If you had read the article, you would have seen the headline as a quote from an eyewitness on Boylston Street. Is it fair to say that no one on social media who lashed out and vilified The Chronicle’s efforts actually turned the electronic page and read the article itself? This article is a shining moment in Hofstra journalism history. Name the media outlets that had people immediately on the ground in Boston. Does The Chronicle, a weekly newspaper on the campus of a university over 200 miles away from the scene, qualify as an outlet you think would be there? Yet The Chronicle’s front page proved its far reach.
Those who attack The Chronicle seem to forget the major point of the journalism pie that has been sliced here. The students who work tirelessly in their efforts to provide you, the Hofstra community, with news and happenings all across campus, just took their reach to a whole new level by being on the scene, arguably the worst in recent Boston history.
Let’s not dare to compare The Chronicle to a certain other news and media outlet that has been wrong not once, but twice, in covering this event. And, if you dare to compare the Chronicle to that outlet, just know you are unfairly labeling Hofstra’s newspaper alongside a sleazy, inaccurate news source that was described as “taking the worst of Twitter and giving them daily reporting jobs.”
I consider myself an avid reader of The Chronicle because I have an utmost respect for the level of journalism they provide. What you see and what I saw when last week’s issue came out are two different ends of the spectrum. I actually read the body copy of the story. Did you?
Before you judge a group of your peers, friends and students just like you, carrying the Hofstra name in everything they do... read the body copy of every story. It might save you some time, some money on aspirin, and also give you a fresh perspective on how journalists do their job.