A letter to our readers
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 02:02
We live in an era in which electronic communications sometimes surpass the frequency of our verbal communications on a given day.
But this provides an obstacle for us in providing you with information, and we want you to know about it.
We’ve seen an increasing number of sources on campus requesting to conduct interviews via email, and in the interest of providing our readers with the most accurate version of the truth, The Oracle will no longer conduct interviews via email, with only extraordinary circumstances as exceptions to the rule.
We cannot provide the transparency and accountability we wish to if the information we provide you with is first vetted and filtered through layers of spokespeople, or answered by a source at the other end of a computer with time to type, delete and retype a response.
The Oracle has until now used email interviews as a last resort, but the increasing number of sources demanding all questions be emailed poses a difficult situation for us.
In the interest of telling fair and balanced stories, we hope to always provide our readers with as many different viewpoints as possible.
But as a newspaper, it is our job to provide readers with the truth, directly from the source — not from the strategically coordinated voices of public relations staff or prescreened e-mail answers.
We don’t think these responses provide our readers with the unvarnished truth, and we will no longer include them in our articles at the expense of compromising the integrity of the information we provide. University departments do not have one, centralized voice, but rather are made up of a multitude of diverse perspectives.
We believe by adopting this policy, we can come closer to presenting you with a picture as close to the actual truth as we can.
Sometimes the truth isn’t the most eloquent thing. Sometimes it isn’t a soundbite. Sometimes it is in an unfiltered facial expression. Sometimes it is in the pauses between what is vocalized. Most of the time the truth is found somewhere between the unrefined, genuine thoughts of the people who make the campus what it is, and that is what we hope to provide you with.
Our sources are invaluable to us, and we respect their time immensely. However, we do not believe a phone or in-person interview should take anymore time than responding to an email would. Further, email interviews do not allow our reporters and sources to cultivate working relationships, which often are essential when important information must be disseminated.
We will make exceptions. Email interviews may be conducted if sources are traveling and cannot be reached via Skype or phone, or for fact-checking clarification purposes, but we will continue to let our readers know the source of their information and will include if an interview was conducted via email.
We value your feedback on this matter and encourage you to write to us with any questions or concerns you may have.
Divya Kumar is a junior majoring in mass communications and economics and is the editor in chief of The Oracle.