Editorial: ‘Rowan in the News’ meant to promote, not inform

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Every day Rowan University sends the “Rowan Announcer” email to its student body in an effort to keep them informed of happenings on campus, aware of clubs and events and to make general announcements. But one section of the announcer in particular curiously fails to serve the role it is named after.

Approximately once a week the Rowan Announcer includes a section titled “Rowan in the News” where it links to news stories from various outlets regarding the university. But throughout the year this News section curiously avoids mentioning stories that may be perceived as negative or bad publicity.

For example, the edition of News for the week ending Nov. 21 included news about the Edelman family donation to the Rowan Fossil Park, and it makes note at the beginning of the link that “dozens” of outlets carried the story. That week’s News also included a note about an elementary school partnering with the university. What it leaves out though, is the several reports from the prior weekend that discussed the second sexual assault on Rowan’s campus in a several week span.

On Nov. 11 6abc.com ran a story about a student whose pants caught on fire and who suffered burns after a portable phone charger caught fire in his pocket. That story was also picked up by several outlets, but was not featured in the Rowan in the News section for the week ending Nov. 18.

All the way back to the summer, the Courier-Post newspaper ran a story about a former Rowan researcher who was barred from continuing his work by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research Integrity after he was found to have used fraudulent data in several published papers. Rowan in the News for the week ending Aug. 12 noted a student’s start-up mobile application venture and the new 3+1 program, but made no mention of the former employee’s misdoing.

Whatever the motivation, it’s clear that the university and its public relations department is not trying to use the announcer’s News section to educate students on the news surrounding its campus, unless that news is good. Students hoping to stay in the loop with the most recent happenings will be hard-pressed to do so using this method.

The university should either include all news, good or bad, for the sake of keeping the student population informed, or should rename the section to more appropriately advertise what it is meant to serve, which is the university’s image.

For questions/comments about this piece email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet us @TheWhitOnline.

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