The Pacific Index

Editor comments on recent criticism of news article

Max Kirkendall

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I am writing in response to the critiques I have received regarding my article about the 2017 College Scorecard. The College Scorecard ranks schools in certain regions on the criteria of average SAT scores, retention rates, average net price, student debt, loans, median earnings after 10 years and more.

For this article, I interviewed the interim dean of students, Sarah Phillips, to help myself and my fellow students understand why Pacific ranked poorly among its sister schools. Phillips explained to me that the reason Pacific’s rank was poor in certain categories, was due to the number of low-income students Pacific admits each year and that Pacific offers much more financial aid to its students than other schools in the same demographic.

I received many emails claiming that Phillips was blaming low-income students for Pacific’s issues, even though it is a fact that Pacific offers a high amount of financial aid, which in turn, leads to a greater graduating debt. As well as the critique of Phillips, I was also criticized as a reporter for framing the article in a way that placed the blame on low-income students at Pacific and making the university, as a whole, look bad.

I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I am aware that readers will sometimes dislike articles that I, and my fellow reporters at The Pacific Index write. However, it is my job as a reporter and journalist, to report exactly what was said by Phillips and writing her quotes verbatim.

The Pacific Index is not a public relations platform. Therefore, it is not our job to continually promote Pacific. It is our duty to report the facts and inform the student body, despite how the facts may represent the university. Instead of taking issue with me personally and
my abilities as a student reporter, students should be critiquing the administration and university if they are unhappy with the facts I presented in my article.

It has also come to my attention that a professor on this campus has enticed their students to criticize The Pacific Index and myself as a reporter, by writing to us in order to receive extra credit in their class. By promoting this, the professor is also missing the point of the article. When directing their critique at my reporting abilities and at The Pacific Index as a whole, they are not addressing the evident issues I highlighted in the article.

With that being said, The Pacific Index encourages anyone, students and professors, to write to us if they have any issues with how we are presenting our material and we will always welcome new reporters who would like to speak up about campus issues. Below are two of the responses I received about my article for the College Scorecard. If you would like to read the rest of the letters, you can find them on our website at www.pacindex.com.

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Editor comments on recent criticism of news article