Editorial board defends front page selection

Jessie Markovetz

To make sure there is no confusion about it, this is not an apology for our choice of front page story in last week’s edition. Rather, this is an explanation of what we did, since we received so many letters questioning our decision.

Selecting last week’s top story was by no means an easy decision. The women’s victory was beyond impressive, while the men’s shameful behavior was beyond reproach. Putting both on the front was not feasible, since we have limited space each week and we did not want two sports covers for the same issue. In the end, the women’s article was written to report the events of a game, while the suspensions article was done as a news story. Little mention of sports was made in the men’s article, making it better suited for the cover.

Another problem we face each issue is the fact that we are a weekly newspaper. Yes, most newspapers ran the women on their covers Wednesday. But we didn’t come out with a paper Wednesday. By the time we were reporting these stories, everyone knew about what had happened in both cases. We decided an in-depth examination of the issues surrounding the suspensions would help clarify what the future held for the team more than a sports article would clarify that the women had won the Big East, and therefore put the suspensions on the cover.

The main sentiment among writers seemed to be that we were not “accentuating the positive,” as one reader put it. We could start just reporting the feel-good news, except we would have to stop calling The Villanovan a newspaper.

Newspapers are not made to make people feel good; they were created to report the news, good or bad. We would be doing the entire student body a great disservice if we had neglected to report the bad news which has happened over the past few years — break-ins, fires, arrests, hit-and-runs and carjackings, to name a few. It is the duty and responsibility of a newspaper to report important events in its readership area, however unpleasant they may be to readers.

Similarly, readers faulted us for not standing by the men’s team last week.

But it isn’t our job to defend a team that has committed such a great wrong — the University has a public relations department to do that. We have a duty to be objective, even when one of our own teams does something to disgrace the University.

One reader said she was disappointed that few people greeted the women upon their return to campus Tuesday night. We agree that if it was the men’s team, more people would have waited for their return. That’s a bad reflection on the school’s attitude toward women’s sports. But even when the football team was clawing its way deep into the playoffs, they never earned three-quarters of the back page like the women received last week. Despite what some of our readers wrote, gender is never an issue when determining which story is worthy of the cover. Some students may consider women’s athletics less important than men’s, but The Villanovan’s staff is not among them.