Flames of the Torch


Last month we received a letter to the editor in our inbox, which we don’t get very often.  In the past, readers sent them in more frequently, but with the emergence of our website (torchonline.com), most of our comments come through the comments section. While it wasn’t a physical letter in the mail, our editorial board was happy to see the trend return.

Our Opinion Editor, Destinee Scott, made the decision not to publish the letter, sent by Prof. Marie George, as it contained mostly quotes from another entity. Scott made this decision along with our Editor-in-Chief, Morgan C. Mullings. To their understanding, as journalism students and avid consumers of news, a letter to the editor is written as an opinion or thought in response to an article seen in print. This was not the content of the letter. Unfortunately,we realized these guidelines are not clear in the “Contributions” and “Editorial Policy” section of our masthead (located to the left of Flames). Meanwhile, Prof. George met with Mullings to explain her intention for the letter and come to a compromise. They decided together that the letter works best as a paid advertisement, which was published in this issue on page two. Please note that our decision to not publish the letter had anything to do with it specific contents; our issue was that the majority of the words were quotations from another source. Going forward, the Torch maintains the opinion that letters to the editor be (1) concerned with something the Torch covered or something that happened within the St. John’s community, and (2) consist of original work and opinions of the sender. This is in addition to the guidelines listed on our masthead. We have updated this page to reflect that, and we hope this makes it clear for those interested in emailing us letters to the editor, and encourages them to do so. We feel it’s important to go through a step-by-step recap, for transparency purposes. 

This week, our editorial board met with the E-board of Student Government, Inc. This meeting was months in the making, and our board was prepared with the intention to educate the new SGI board on the Torch’s reporting processes and policies. We feel that with more understanding, SGI and the Torch will have a more positive working relationship. While we often cover things that may not make them happy, we are committed to fairness and accuracy and always have been. We’d like to thank SGI for taking the time to sit down with us and learn more about the history of the Torch and our intentions for covering more of what SGI does. We believe it is important that the student body is aware of the inner workings of one of the governing bodies of SJU, especially since they oversee many of the student organizations that we cover each week. With Power 2 Organize happening this past Monday (pg. 2), we are excited to cover more of that process than we have in the past, and give exclusive coverage that the SJU community can trust.