Tag: Chanticleer

For the record: I stand by our story

Kaitlin Fleming, Editor in Chief

This past week, The Chanticleer published a story about a student reporting on social media that there were three white dots on her vehicle’s windshield and that she believed it was a ploy used in human trafficking. 

Since then, many of our readers have been asking why the story ran if we are unable to make a concrete connection between the three white dots on a windshield and human trafficking. 

Here is the timeline of events from the moment we were made aware of the post on social media, to the posting of our story on the incident:

Upon receiving the information from the original post, Scott Young, news editor and reporter for The Chanticleer, reached out to the Chief of University Police by email. 

Chief Schaffer responded to the email and made it clear that UPD had been made aware of the claims and were investigating the situation. He also stated that he spoke with East Metro Area Crime Center and no information was available about three white dots in a pyramid being related to human trafficking.

I then researched other claims of this nature and found similar claims made in 2017 and 2018 from different states across the U.S. I could not find any solid evidence that white marks of any kind on a car’s windshield was related to human trafficking. 

Young then reached out to the student who reported the incident on social media. He and Patricia Wisenbaker had a conversation over Facebook Messenger and she explained the incident to him from her point of view.

Based on the circulation of Wisenbaker’s original Facebook post, I deemed it necessary to run a story about the incident. I felt that it would be neglectful of the paper to have information about this situation and for us to not report it.

In the age of social media, things get shared on Facebook and Twitter simply based on keywords, fear and curiosity. After our investigation into the matter, I felt it was our duty to inform students, faculty and the surrounding community of the facts of this incident instead of letting them get their information solely from a social media post.

So, we ran the story.

Throughout the story, The Chanticleer made clear that this was a ‘possible’ ploy and the Chief of the University Police was quoted in the story having said, “We were unable to find any report or information linking dots in a triangle to trafficking in the area.”

We have simply reported on the fact that the student reported the incident and that the UPD is looking into the matter.

While UPD has not confirmed that this is a tactic used by human traffickers, they stressed to Young the importance of remaining vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity to UPD immediately.

Our original headline raised many questions, however. There were people who assumed that UPD claimed the incident was related to human trafficking and we have changed the headline to be more clear and we did so within a few hours of the story being online.

While we strive to always be factual and accurate, sometimes words translate differently than intended. We never meant to confuse or scare anybody.

The story gained a lot of attention based on the content it surrounded – human trafficking – and I believe that the story was shared without being fully read. If the story was read in its entirety, I find it hard to believe that there would be any questions in regards to the validity of the story, sources or claims. 

It is never our intention to scare or confuse our readers. We simply report information we receive in the most accurate and factual way we can, and sometimes, we miss the mark. In this case, we did not miss the mark. We, especially Scott Young, wrote an incredibly well researched and well sourced article.

I do recognize that the original headline which read “UPD warns students to be aware of possible human trafficking ploy” wasn’t the best choice of headline, but it does not change the validity of the story. Our new headline, which reads “UPD warns students to be vigilant after student reports possible human trafficking ploy” reflects the story’s message better and is accurate.

I, as Editor in Chief of the newspaper, stand behind this story, News Editor Scott Young, and this newspaper 100 percent and I do not regret that we printed the story. 

We will continue printing factual stories for the remainder of my term as EIC. In case anyone is wondering, we keep meticulous records of all interviews, communications, etc. with our sources and can easily point to each quoted statement and background information given.

Further questions or concerns can be directed to chantynewstips@gmail.com.

News Editor Scott Young says hello to readers

Scott Young, News Editor

Hey everybody! My name is Scott Young, and I’m so excited to be the new News Editor for the Chanticleer this year! I’m in my junior year at Jacksonville State and I am a communication major with a concentration in digital journalism.

Last year, I started my ‘career’ as a staff reporter for the Chanticleer, working under then Editor in Chief Daniel Mayes. My first story for the paper ended up being my most popular to date: the candlelight vigil held outside of Coop DeVille after it caught fire and temporarily closed.

When I began writing my first story for the Chanticleer, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I had not yet taken my major courses, so I had not been introduced to the AP stylebook or any news writing tips. I spent all night parsing over every word and making sure I had a story I considered worthy of publication. The next day when it was posted, it started gaining a lot of attention around campus and had been shared over 100 times on Facebook.

Though it was just a silly story about a candlelight vigil for a chicken wing eatery, it really inspired me to write more.

To me, journalism is about empowering an audience with the truth and in today’s media ecosystem, that is more important than ever before. Working for the Chanticleer and beyond, I want to facilitate a more ethical and honest way of reporting so that the truth is not distorted by fiction. People deserve to trust in their journalists and news outlets to give them accurate and well-rounded stories.

Again, I’m looking forward to this opportunity I have to positively impact student media at JSU and to report the truth to our student body. 

If you ever have any questions about the Chanticleer or anything else, feel free to contact me at my student email, syoung11@stu.jsu.edu.

New office, new staff, new year at The Chanticleer

This academic year will no doubt bring about many changes for many people, as every new school year inevitably does. The excitement brought on by these new possibilities drive the urge to be a part of it all. The same stands true for campus organizations such as The Chanticleer. The Chanticleer employs four editors; three of which are entirely new staff members this year, myself included. We are currently undergoing some transitions in our traditions.

My first duty as Editor-in-Chief was to head the production of The Chanticleer’s summer publication, the Gamecock Guide. My second was to choose staff members for this school year. That was quite a nerve-racking task. Interviewing people is almost as terrifying as being the interviewee—almost.

Those experiences were the perfect bedrock to get me in the new mindset of publications and editing and deadlines and communication—things I called “grown-up stuff” when I was younger—the same kind of things we all will face upon or even before graduation.

In addition to my new personal transformation, The Chanticleer also went through one of its own. It was assigned a different office on the opposite side of Self Hall. The new office was something we could fix to be our own; however, some people may say we used entirely too many staples and Command strips. At first, I was not very eager for the move, but once I was able to imprint my personal touch on our new home, I could clearly see all the possibilities that lay in front of me. It was the first room I ever decorated, so it was an interesting experience. As they say, when life gives you lemons…

We at The Chanticleer are facing what so many others in the media industry are facing: convergence. This paper has more of a choice in this matter than other media outlets, but it is for the best that we begin turning our attention to the digital side. The Communication Department now offers the Digital Journalism concentration., and it is for this reason The Chanticleer is doing more in the digital world now than it has in the past. After hours of brainstorming, my Associate Editor and I (with assistance from the JSU Information Technology Department) created a new website that allows more producer/consumer interactivity.

There is nothing like the smell of freshly pressed newspaper with a morning cup of coffee, but it just is not reality for many people anymore. As The Chanticleer embarks on this new journey with a new office, new staff and a new game plan, we invite all of our readers to travel with us. It is going to be a year full of possibilities.

Marie McBurnett