By Joel Wass
As a welcome back, I’d like to take you back to The Eyeopener’s first issue of last semester.
In that paper-for reasons I still question-I made a list of those who were welcome and unwelcome from the Toronto International Film Festival (for those who have forgotten, the Ryerson Theatre showed festival films last fall).
In the rough draft to that column I listed an actress (whom I’ll leave unnamed for legal purposes) as being unwelcome at Ryerson because she appeared on three major dailies, with three different men, on the same day.
My “witty” punchline was that the actress brought a new meaning to the expression “media whore.” Get it? It’s funny, right? No, no it’s not funny. I was bluntly informed by nearly every woman I work with that my comedic intention was actually offensive.
Reading the line over again I’m not sure why I ever thought the pun was appropriate for the paper. Needless to say, it was deleted from the final draft. It’s too bad editors at the Golden Ram (the monthly newspaper put out by the Ryerson Engineering Student Society) didn’t receive the same advice for their November edition.
The now notorious issue contains numerous offensive statements (their cover showed: “Whats(sic) better than Women in Engineering?…..Engineers in women”).
On Tuesday, Golden Ram staff presented a formal apology to the Discrimination and Harassment Office. The Golden Ram is hardly the first publication on campus to create a ruckus at Ryerson.
The Eyeopener has been known to publish an offensive story or two-which Ryerson President Claude Lajeunesse so kindly highlighted in his campus-wide e-mail addressing the Golden Ram fiasco.
In fact, an Eyeopener alumnus once pointed out that our paper is one of the few media organizations that has gone out of its way to piss off its readership.
The statement is especially disturbing considering students help fund our paper. While I assure you that it’s not our goal to anger our readers – at least not this year – we do strive to be an edgy, alternative news source. We believe this is essential not only to separate us from other campus publications, but also from the daily papers available on campus.
However, I’ll be the first to admit that our efforts to be edgy have led to controversial and arguably offensive content (again, thanks for mentioning that, Mr. President).
Our most glaring attempt to be edgy this week is not a tasteless jock joke, but rather our decision to make our top story about Ryerson students’ tsunami relief funds going to an organization that supports a potential terrorist group. Is our story provocative and informative or merely sensational and insensitive?
We spent many hours trying to ensure that our tsunami coverage was considerate of Ryerson readers affected by the tragedy, but the only people who can truly judge whether or not we’ve done our job are readers.
I hope anyone who finds error in our coverage will let us know about it by coming to our office or sending us a letter. We’ve always had that policy. It’s too bad, Dr. Lajeunesse’s e-mail declined to mention that and all the other actions our paper has taken over the years.
Be careful Claude, a few more cheap shots and you might find yourself on the unwelcome list next year.