Not upset, just surprised

Would you say York County PA is a conservative area?  What about York College Campus?

Should a campus newspaper worry if an article is too controversal for print?  Is there such a thing as news that is too controversal to share with the public?

I have many questions suddenly, that I had never given thought to before.  When I began researching a sexual fetish involving balloons for a final paper in writing course, I never expected it to be so damn interesting.  I wanted to share with YCP the opportunity to follow along in my research and even become a part of it, if they find balloons stimulating.  The faculty at YCP did not enter my mind because I don’t write for the faculty, I write for my fellow students.

This is my first response from one of the editors concerning the preview article about balloon fetishists:

“I believe I’m talking to Dr. Zerbe tomorrow about a whole bunch of things, so as long as he says it’s okay, the balloon one should be good to go too. I’ll keep you posted.  -Leah”

And the response I received today:

“Dr. Zerbe, Stephen and I, we decided to publish the balloon article online but not in the print version. The only reason I really didn’t want to publish it in the print issue is just because York is a somewhat conservative area, and a small but significant portion of the readers of the print edition are the Deans and administration. I just don’t think it’s appropriate for that audience. However, I think that it is much better suited to the online issue, and you’ll get much more of a response online especially when we can link it directly to your blog.  I hope that’s okay! I think it’s going to give you a much better response, anyway.  -Leah”

This is my response to the email and I CC’d it to the other editor and Dr. Zerbe, the professor who advises us news reporters:

Leah,

When I submitted this random piece for an article, I did so never giving it thought that the content would be a problem.  This is a topic I am researching for a final paper in writing and just thought it would be cool to share in this research.  I did not know if anyone that reads The Spartan would answer the questions, but I think you should keep this in mind, anyone can have a fetish regardless of their profession.  This college does not strike me as conservative because I am also involved with LLAMBDA and know that it is widely accepted by most everyone on campus.  I can honestly say I have never heard of or seen any type of prejudice at YCP.

This has actually turned out to be even more interesting to me that it won’t make the college printed paper because there is suddenly a concern of who might be offended.  If that were really a true concern, then the articles written for the Spartan in the past would not have covered abortion, smoking, gay rights, etc.  I am not against my article going into the online edition.  My only concern is the “online edition” will now be the dumping grounds for anything even slightly controversial, like balloon fetishist.  If we want fellow students to pick up the copies that are printed we have to have content that they want to bother reading.  Otherwise, let’s just skip printing anything and focus all our attention online.

I appreciate the consideration by yourself, Dr. Zerbe, and Stephen but I will voice my disappointment that this is found to be too controversial to print.  My final paper may very well go deeper into this fetish that anyone has ever gone before.  To me that is ground-breaking and news-worthy.

Sincerely,

Pattie Crider

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Having been a college teacher, I’m not surprised by this. My concern wouldn’t be for the staff learning about the content of this article — I’m sure it would be fine with them if they read it in Rolling Stone or whatever. I’d worry about fundraising. Someone wealthy comes to the college President’s house; you don’t want them finding anything offensive, because it can cost the college money if a donation falls through. President doesn’t have time to read everything, leaves it on the coffee table when big-time conservative moneybags person visits the school. They start randomly flipping through stuff while talking casually, until, er… problem!

    • Honestly, the co-editor was “uncomfortable” with running just an intro about balloon fetishist. It wasn’t even the questionnaire. Our advising professor emailed me that he was fine with me pushing the envelope but it all came down to the co-editors decisions. One said yes (male) and the other said no. (female)

      Since then, she has changed her mind and wants to publish paper. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it once I get it back graded. Rolling Stone magazine sounds awesome…..

      thanks! ~P.

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