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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: The less you wear, the more you pay

Published: November 10, 2006
Section: Opinions

Though the press has an obligation to accurately portray news by using photographic journalism, it has the same obligation to have decency in regards to the content being printed. Over the past several weeks, the Justice has taken a step backwards by publishing photos that are completely superfluous and have benefited no one.

In regards to controversial photos taken at the Less You Wear, Less You Pay dance, the media should realize the importance of what is being shown on their front pages. Though events in public spaces are considered fair game for coverage, there is a vast difference between a truly public square and an event that was paid for with SAF money and that took place in the campus Student Center. The event, a long-standing tradition at our university, fosters a positive Brandeis social scene and elevates school morale. At a university where students often complain about a lack in these areas, how can a student fully participate in a campus event when he or she is forced to worry about the possible repercussions of attending such functions? While the event was open to only members of the university for the night, the unwanted photos are open to the public for the unforeseeable future.

Much has been written in the past several years about volunteering personal content online, particularly on websites like MySpace and Facebook. More so than ever, potential employers are scouring the Internet to see what they can find out about particular candidates. One unwanted photo has the potential of ruining an otherwise qualified persons chances for many different opportunities, and thus the responsibility of the media in regards to the Internet is more crucial than ever. While the media has to be fair and accurate, they must also respect the fact that the Internet is unbounded territory and that photos posted on the Internet can potentially circulate forever. There is no reason for Brandeis students to have their actions at a private university come back to haunt them during a job interview two decades down the line.

In the past, the administration has played a part in decisions made by the media. Content has been taken down after requests from within the administration. Yet student requests for the removal of the pictures in the past several weeks have been ignored. Arent the students' requests just as important as those of the administration?

Brandeis is a small isolated community, and the media needs to respect that. Printing the picture was an inappropriate action on its own, but to then name one of the students portrayed was inexcusable. In exchange for a negligible amount of journalistic value, a student that was merely attending a school-sanctioned event and doing absolutely nothing wrong was unfairly and unjustly portrayed as the symbol of a rowdy party.