Pandora’s Box’s mission statement. Photo Credit: Pandora’s Box’s archives.
By Angel Adegbesan
Recently, Pandora’s Box’s current Editor-in-Chief was heckled by a member of York College’s administration because the paper repeatedly covered the story of a former employee who was arrested on a drug charge. Separately, the current news editor was also admonished by a member of the College administration for publishing news on the lack of a solid policy for firing an adjunct professor at York who was accused of sexually harassing a student at LaGuardia Community College.
Most recently, a member of the Student Government Association of the college verbally attacked a group of Pandora’s Box staff as they delivered copies of the newspaper. This time,it was because the paper generally publishes negative news regarding York.
Pandora’s Box’s staff constantly gets heckled regarding publishing negative articles about York on the paper’s front page. According to these hecklers, the college newspaper should only fill its front page with positive news stories and put the negative stories in the middle (where no one can notice them).
This SGA senator also heckled the staff about “painting the school badly” on the paper’s front page. The senator implied that PB is meant to promote the school and that the staff were not doing their jobs correctly. The staff stood their ground and told this individual that PB’s mission mandates that we report the truth “though the heavens may fall.”
Pandora’s Box is the official newspaper of York College. We are not their Public Relations team. News organizations exist as a watchdog to the government to keep their activities in check. Pandora’s Box does not exist to promote the college, that is the job of the Newsletters and College magazines. The newspaper is not mandated to report only positive news about the college.
Pandora’s Box reports the positive AND the negative and most importantly, we always strive to report the truth. We exist to report news that affects and concerns York’s entire student body and the surrounding Jamaica, Queens community.
The most important news stories of the news issue gets published on the front page, as it is in any news organization. It does not matter whether it is positive or negative. A team of staff determines the most pressing issue to bring to the knowledge of the student body.
The hecklers also claim that these negative stories would prevent students from attending the school or make prospective students planning to attend York to lose interest in the college. This is a lie! Another look at the enrollment rates of the school shows that it has increased as the years have gone by. So, if students want to leave this school, the blame should not be on what PB publishes but on the school itself.
A look at Pandora’s Box’s archives shows that we have published several newspapers with positive and negative news stories about York on their front pages. We have always been fair in our reporting.
If anyone has a complaint against the publishing decisions of the newspaper, we recommend that you write a formal letter to the editor. Do not heckle our staff members. They are students who are simply doing the job that they are assigned to do.
If York’s administration does not want negative stories on the front page, then they should follow the proper rules that would not portray the college in a bad light.
PB does not take pleasure in reporting negative stories. That is not our goal. Our goal is to report on what happens in and around the college. The school does the bad stuff, PB simply writes about it.