During the Students’ Union election in 2019, The Gateway published two articles that were deeply inappropriate. We have decided to retract both of these articles.
The two articles in question were “UASU Vote 2019: The Candidates as Fursonas I Found on Furaffinity.net” and “Getaway staff as fuwwies uwu.”
Links to these articles will continue to be live, but their contents have been deleted. The links have a sentence explaining the previous article has been deleted, and include a link to this statement.
We wanted to renounce the two articles in question as seriously as possible.
First and foremost, The Gateway sincerely apologizes to the election candidates mentioned in the first problematic article. This portrayal of your character and likeness was inappropriate and disrespectful. It is our job to cover elections in the best and accurate way possible, and with the publishing of this article, we did not do so. For this, we apologize.
Secondly, The Gateway offers our sincere apologies to the University of Alberta community in general. We have betrayed your trust and we hope to do everything we can to earn it back this year.
This apology is long overdue. An apology without action is insufficient, so below are the changes we are committing to in order to ensure this never happens again.
Professionalizing and formalizing coverage of University of Alberta Students’ Union activities and elections
One of the most important tasks The Gateway undertakes every year is reporting on the Students’ Union elections. We have committed to and will continue to improve upon ensuring that our coverage is as fair and equitable as possible to candidates. This includes ensuring all reporting surrounding elections is fact based, and written in respectful and professional tones.
A new fact check policy will be utilized during elections and candidates will have direct access to the Editor-in-Chief in order to raise concerns in real-time, should there be any.
A formal code of conduct during elections will be drafted and made public. Both staff and volunteers will abide by this at all times during the campaign.
Additionally, staff and volunteers will receive more training to ensure respectful coverage of ideas and platforms, not attacking a candidates likelihood or personality.
Professionalizing our editorial workspace
The Gateway reports serious news and abides by formal Canadian Press guidelines. Given this, we have reformed our staff training and copy-editing processes.
Every story put out by The Gateway is heavily thought about, and those submitted to us are subject to serious consideration. Every piece written is subject to multiple rounds of copy edits from line editors, then to their managing editors, and finally goes through the Editor-in-Chief.
Reserving any and all satirical content to The Getaway
The Gateway publishes humorous satirical content during the exam seasons of Fall and Winter semesters, under the moniker of The Getaway. We believe satire and humour have a place in journalism broadly, but regular news reporting is what we prioritize.
Although the two problematic articles were not satirical in any way, The Gateway will not publish humorous articles in our regular online publishing without clear disclaimers.
Reporting that has humorous undertones throughout the general year will be very limited. No news coverage will be humorous, instead remaining fact-based.
Establishing formal working relationships and partnerships with marginalized communities and underrepresented groups, to amplify community voices
Central to The Gateway’s shortcomings was a lack of perspective, and the most invaluable perspective often comes from voices not highlighted enough in the status quo.
To better serve our campus and our community, we have established formal partnerships with campus groups that give a platform for their voices to be heard. We also seek counsel from these groups, and earnestly seek to be better for the future.
The Gateway exists to serve students and that means meeting a high standard of quality journalism. As a news organization, we sincerely appreciate your willingness to hold us accountable, and it is our responsibility to continue to listen and respond to student feedback.
We understand that the publishing of these two problematic articles may have eroded your trust in The Gateway. It is our job to work hard to regain that trust. We are up to the challenge, and look forward to serving campus this year and for years to come.
The Gateway Editor-in-Chief 2020-21