Editor in Chief Matthew Parrino eloquently describes what happened after an assistant news editor for The Spectrum, the student newspaper at SUNY’s University at Buffalo, expressed her opinions on tattoos:
Beware of what you write. It can destroy you.
Readers’ comments have nearly destroyed her and it’s awful. She’s my staff member and I can’t do much to help her. She’s kind and hard-working and always willing to attack a story or take on a tough assignment. She wrote the tattoo piece as a counterpoint to another staff writer’s piece on why she gets tattoos. In her zeal to win the argument, perhaps she got carried away. …
What has baffled me more than anything is how much people care about this issue. Last month, we reported that this university gave money illegally to (then) County Executive Chris Collins’ political campaign and that UB President Satish K. Tripathi broke SUNY regulations. We got almost no response.
I respect people’s attachment to their tattoos and the personal and emotional value they hold for many. But as a student hoping to make my career as a journalist, I would also like to believe that the public cares about issues that extend beyond themselves.
Related: How to respond when the Internet calls you names (Poynter)