Staff Editorial: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette causes quite a stir with adjunct story

By Duke Staff

At The Duquesne Duke, our role on campus is to report and inform. We do not exist to act as a mouthpiece for Duquesne’s administration, the adjuncts’ union nor any other faction. We are a professional student organization run by students for students.

On Sept. 1, Margaret Mary Vojtko died of complications after suffering from a heart attack. The controversy surrounding Vojkto’s final days, has been the epicenter of a national press explosion and a surging awareness movement on the maltreatment of adjunct professors by the college system.

On Sept 18., an opinion piece by United Steelworkers union member Daniel Kovalic appeared in the Post-Gazette and garnered the attention of not just our campus, not just Pittsburgh, but people across the nation.

The Duke had dedicated a front page article to her passing a week prior to the long term professor’s death. Being familiar with the story, we at The Duke immediately recognized Mr. Kovalic’s piece as being an incomplete version of the events, focusing on a single element of a larger question at hand.

As journalists, there is no greater justice than truth and we will continue to dedicate time and effort to ensure that the truth surrounding the tragedy of Margaret Mary Vojkto is brought completely to light.

It is not our intention to embarrass any person or organization involved.

We are objective journalists and it is our ethical responsibility to see this story through. It would be a greater injustice to leave this story half-told with only emotional testimony serving as truth.

While we continue to delve into the facts, we are admonished through feedback online.

Many commenters have accepted Mr. Kovalic’s version of events as the absolute truth and see any sort of refutation as a misguided effort to defend Duquesne University.

It is shocking to us who study and practice journalism that so many people will accept an opinion piece over a varied-sourced report that takes an objective approach.

In the age of social media and rapid sharing of blogs, it is important to remember to read objectively. A person who writes a story without any form of verification could very well just be telling a story. With the explosion of citizen-reporters, it has never been more important to carefully inspect what you are being told.

With the blogosphere muddying the waters, it is hard to be sure what is truth and what is speculation. It is our duty as journalists to deliver the truth to the public. It is the public’s responsibility to read critically.


1 Comment

  1. Keep going with the “objective” propaganda. Every sane person is aware of the use of nontenured professors as a low-wage labor pool in universities. This of course could only become available in the era of neoliberalism. Religion and extreme capitalism seem to enjoy quite a cozy relationship in the case of this school’s administration. Wonder what kind of other nasty secrets might come out. Fortunately, there are some descent students in this school that remember the teachings of Jesus Christ.

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