Daily and NBN cover forum

Here's a link to the Daily Northwestern's coverage of the forum.

Here's North by Northwestern's coverage.


Say Goodbye to the name "Medill School of Journalism"

Tribune columnist Eric Zorn has reportedly obtained possible name changes being tossed around by a Medill committee. Lavine was asked earlier tonight in a Q and A for students about the possibility of changing the name. He said he didn't know what would come of a name change. Check out the seven options Zorn posted on his blog:

The Medill School of Journalism

The Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communications

The Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications

The Medill School of News Media and Integrated Marketing Communications

The Medill School of Audience and Consumer Information

The Medill School of Media Arts and Sciences

The Medill School of Information and Influence

Spett Speaks

David Spett, the author of the original column behind this whole incident, has a followup column published on the Daily website.

Here it is for your reading pleasure.

After all the accusations against Spett's reporting, it is worth a read.


NBN confirms no one said the quote

North by Northwestern has published the results of its own investigation of Spett's reporting. The five contributors to the report contacted all 12 Medill students and 10 of the 17 non-Medill students, all of whom denied ever saying the quote in question. Six of the other seven did not reply, and the last one agreed to an interview but never followed up.

You can read the entire report here.

This is yet another investigation of the source of the quote that has taken place outside of the provost's office. This blog has confirmed that the five Medill juniors were not contacted during the provost's investigation.

Also, quick reminder: the dean will be available to answer questions from students tomorrow night at McCormick Tribune Center at 5:30 p.m.

Zorn: Hayden's letter petulant and weak

Eric Zorn covers the latest development, Tom Hayden's letter, in his blog Change of Subject. Read the full article here.

One important point to make: Zorn corrects Hayden's assertion that Hayden was not contacted. Zorn emailed Hayden on February 20, according to his blog, even though there was no reason to assume Hayden would have anything substantive to say on the matter. Hayden, remember, wrote this:
I find it interesting and troubling that only two reporters attempted to contact me throughout this fabricated media drama. I agreed to speak with one of the two. He seems to be a serious and sincere young man who writes for northbynorthwestern.com. Unless I completely misread him, he appears interested in getting to the truth. With all the things I’ve read over the past weeks and months, I sometimes wonder if there are any others out there searching for the truth.
Whether or not Zorn is the other reporter, the one who is not serious or sincere or interested in getting the truth, remains a mystery.


A letter from Professor Tom Hayden

This morning, Tom Hayden sent out a letter to the Medill community about Quotegate. Professor Hayden taught IMC 303, the class that the dean referenced in his letter to alumni.

Some of the main points from his letter:

Professor Hayden is upset that only two reporters have contacted him regarding the story. He did not respond to one reporter but did speak to someone at North by Northwestern, an online news outlet run by students that has also been following the controversy. Read North by Northwestern's coverage here.

He also recalled conversations with four former students about the coverage by columnist David Spett. Three of these four students refused to talk to David. The last one told Professor Hayden he believed the quote, "reflected how everyone in the class felt." All four of these students are anonymous to protect the student-teacher relationship.

Finally, Professor Hayden worries about the anti-Medill sentiment in the faculty, the students and the alumni. Some students, he writes, feel intimated by those around them and are worried about "reprisal from faculty members who had signed the petition that was sent to the press."

Professor Hayden has every right to send this letter and makes some interesting points in it, but there are still some facts about what happened that are absent.

First, the five Medill juniors in question have now said several times that they were not the source of the quote. They told this to David Spett, David Protess of Medill faculty and Eric Zorn from the Chicago Tribune. All five students have confirmed to JournalistsSpeak.blogspot.com that the provost's office never contacted them in its investigation.

Second, the provost's investigation has set a dangerous precedent that similar sentiments expressed by those in the class are enough to conclude a direct quote was not fabricated.

Finally, the dean's silence on the issue, especially to students, has been disheartening, and the lack of transparency in all of this is cause for concern. We hope the upcoming forum (Wednesday night, 5:30 p.m., at McCormick Tribune Center) will shed more light on the issue.
The picture above is courtesy Medill's website.


Chicago Tribune: NU President Should Intervene

A staff editorial published in the Chicago Tribune's Saturday edition says it sees no end in sight for "Quotegate's" impact on Medill and Northwestern's reputations, despite a recent attempt by Provost Linzer to end the controversy.

The editorial calls Linzer's investigation into whether the Dean fabricated quotes as "a carefully lawyered" and "mush-mouth" statement.

Linzer argued there is "ample evidence that the quotes were consistent with the statement students expressed about the course in course evaluation and no evidence to point to any likelihood that the quotes were fabricated."

The Tribune editorial challenges Linzer's line of reasoning as to why fabrication was not possible:

- That passage is evasive. Direct quotation isn't merely "consistent with sentiment." That's called paraphrasing. Direct quotation chronicles what a person said.

- That passage also is inaccurate. There is indeed evidence suggesting that the quotations were fabricated: Spett's research. Spett may have produced evidence that, on closer scrutiny, proves accurate or inaccurate, compelling or unpersuasive. But he certainly produced provocative evidence.

The editorial concludes 'Quotegate' will continue to be "embarrassing" to both Northwestern University and Medill, until President Bienen intervenes.