College Newspapers Posting Old and New Content Online

Recently, many college newspapers have begun publishing their most recent editions online, as well as past articles from even 30 or 40 years ago, USA Today reports. In addition, the use of search tools such as Google and Bing has made it exponentially easier to search for information pertaining to someone. Together, these two factors can lead to having negative information easily accessible and threatening to a person’s reputation. Take Mall Wallace’s story, for example. Matt Wallace is a senior at OU and was a hopeful for the Student Government’s Presidential position. However, after OU’s student-run newspaper, The Post, posted an article pertaining to his partying habits Wallace was not just worried about the election but his future employment opportunities as well. Wallace said ““If a potential employer decides to search my name in Google, their takeaway…if they didn’t read deep into the article to weed out the ridiculousness of the circumstances…takeaway would bring up a red flag.” In addition a letter to the editor was written about Wallace who referred to him being “a danger to all women of campus,” Wallace said.
What is also a negative effect of having past content posted online is that it brings what could be a forgotten past of an individual into new light. Dawn Bugni, of the Aspire! Empower! Career Strategy Group said “I went to college. I don’t want Facebook to know what I did in college.” Bugni suggest that students with negative content about them online should use a technique called ‘flooding the internet.’ This includes writing positive letters to the editor, having a YouTube channel, or posting reviews to Amazon. The goal of flooding is to not have negative content pop up when your name is searched, but rather drown in out causing potential employers, among others, to have to sift through lots of information to find it.
Campus newspapers have very different views when it comes to deciding what should be posted online. UF’s Independent Alligator seems to almost look for negative content to post. Their metro editor, Alex Orlando, said “We’re independent; we take no responsibility for our school’s reputation whatsoever. I could care less. If students are acting like jackasses, then we’re going to write about it.” However, to protect MU’s reputation as a Catholic institution, Editor-in-Chief Matthew Reddin said he would “certainly not” publish the names of underage students in connection to a misdemeanor.
What is your opinion on what college newspapers should and should not able to post on the internet? And is it fair to have old forgotten information rehashed?


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