EDITORIAL: What we deem newsworthy

Editorial Board

The discussion of what is “newsworthy,” unsurprisingly, comes up often in our newsroom. There isn’t a story tree we randomly pluck the news from. We are deliberate about which stories we do report.

When a photo of Kaitlin Bennett with an AR-10 strapped to her back went viral, reporters in our student newsroom did what reporters do: They covered a newsworthy story.

The Kent State alumna and gun rights activist spent much of the summer making the rounds on conservative news networks, gaining momentum for her #CampusCarryNow movement.

On Aug. 13, Bennett announced on social media she would hold an open-carry rally on Kent State’s main campus. She said she planned to have conservative speakers at the event, including some who are identified as far-right by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Since then, the rally changed to a walk, got canceled in a tweet, then got uncanceled in another tweet 15 hours later.

From the initial announcement to now, we published at least 10 stories. We reported about the details of the event, the university’s policies related to public assembly and its response to Bennett’s planned event.

This event will bring gun activists and their firearms to campus as well as groups who intend to counterprotest, which could lead to a volatile situation. In the interest of safety, we did not want to imagine a scenario where something of this scale came to our campus and community and our readers didn’t know about it.

We are aware of the issue of shootings on campuses and the potential panic bringing guns onto campus can cause. We track all school shootings and mass shootings in the country in a map on our opinion pages.

The legacy of the May 4 shootings and the way in which protestors use it to frame the campus carry issue also resonates with us.

The lack of transparency from the university leaves us with more questions about its handling of the event than it answered.

We have a duty to provide the Kent State community with current, relevant and local reporting, despite some readers’ perceptions we are covering these stories only because they are controversial.

There is an urgency to these stories. They directly affect the Kent State community. We will continue to provide newsworthy coverage as the story unfolds.

Members of the editorial board:

Addie Gall, design director

Cameron Hoover, managing editor

Brandon Bounds, TV2 enterprise producer 

Laina Yost, enterprise editor

Melanie Nesteruk, director of photography 

Valerie Royzman, features editor 

Nicholas Hunter, opinion editor