All in the name of journalism

Robin Humbert

Journalists often place themselves in dangerous locations to report stories to the uninformed public, and that is a risk that most writers weigh into the decision to report or not. While negotiating the job of writing a weekly opinion column for The Lawrentian, I had no idea I would be putting myself, or others, in harm’s way. Yet, this past weekend proved otherwise.At a party with friends, an offended Lawrentian reader verbally assaulted me. Not only were obscenities used but also a beverage aimed for me was poured upon one of my guests instead. The phrase, “You were the B***h that wrote that article about us!” gave me the idea that she was unhappy with an editorial that I had previously written. Despite my attempts to reason with the perpetrator, she would not listen at the time.

This outbreak could have been a result of intoxication, anger control problems, or the excitement of the crowded atmosphere. However, it started from the misinterpretation of my given opinion in last week’s editorial about cheerleading. The individual was not sure how to take my article; whether it was making fun of super fans, or promoting them. To clear up confusion, I will explain. I was informing the rest of the campus, those who do not support Lawrence athletics, of the rising fan support, and hinting to the administration, that I believe there is enough support to sponser an actual, legitimate, team. Lastly, I was applauding the fans, and suggesting they take it one step further and start a real team, to actually stop negative criticisms about uniformed non-cheerleaders. My editorial was mistaken for a negative criticism, and after I explained it to the person at a later date, we came to an understanding.

This is a dilemma most writers struggle with: the inability to get their point across clearly, and the conflict with the reader who is unable to understand a point, no matter how clear it is to the mass public.

In addition, I merely write an opinion column for The Lawrentian. As important as this position is to me, I am not the front-page writer for the Washington Post, figuratively speaking. Merely a social critic myself, I can only advise (or request please!) to all other critics out there, such as the one who attacked me this weekend: Follow in my manners, by critiquing any and all subject matter with an intelligent, thorough, and non-violent approach to prevent against similar upset in the future.

-Robin Humbert