Issue 3: Editorial: Don’t Turn Off The Comments…

The phrase “face the music” proves to be a timeless necessity for student groups


Photo Jennifer Le

In this photo, a staffer displays the process of turning off the comments at the click of a button.

Knight Writers Staff

Student groups represent the school, whether or not they’re directly affiliated. As a student, there’s a standard to maintain, and that includes holding yourself accountable. There are easy ways to smother confrontation, and frankly, it’s too easy. Nowadays, the simple click of a button silences opposition but often sends a bigger message: knowledge that the post’s content is wrong.

A recent South Tampa student newspaper posted a photo of students celebrating at a basketball game, opening the floor for other student groups to do the same. It sounds harmless until you look at the photo subjects and realize that they all pulled down their masks to scream. Even among those who kept their masks on, they still wore it incorrectly. It’s no longer a heart-warming photo of the community; it’s embarrassing.

When students began commenting, wondering why it was appropriate to post this, comments were turned off. That’s not handling a situation maturely; it’s running. So what if you don’t have the same platform as Kylie Jenner or the New York Times? You’re still responsible.

Especially in journalism, objectivity is key. That also means being considerate and facing the facts. Obviously, not everyone follows CDC guidelines, but why unnecessarily paint your school and student body in a bad light? A simple statement directly acknowledging the situation would’ve been appropriate, not silencing the students that called you out. Do better.

Whether it’s purposeful or not, actions like these condone ignorant behaviors. Just because everyone knows that many students don’t follow CDC guidelines doesn’t mean that it has to be advertised. You can make the argument that photos like these are authentic; they’re candid, so why should it matter? It’s still tone-deaf. If you can’t handle the anticipated backlash, don’t post. If you post, leave the comments on. At the bare minimum, be consistent.

We know that we’re not perfect; after all, no one is. But at the end of the day, it’s better to acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them instead of ignoring what’s bound to come to light sooner or later. If you want to do something, say it with your chest, and don’t back out when it catches up to you. The comments might be off, but people don’t forget.