You might as well read about it here, since it’s already hit the local news. The latest issue of The Lowell, the student-run newspaper at Lowell HS, carries an innocuous-looking, business card sized ad reading “Free Music Downloads” in large letters, then a web site address in smaller type. The web address leads to a web site that distributes “white resistance” music, stickers and other materials.
The ad was apparently submitted via email and cost $30 to place. While a Chronicle story indicates that the contents of the web site might have changed between the time the ad was submitted and the time it appeared in print, other reports question whether faculty advisors actually checked the link. In addition to The Lowell, other high school newspapers around the country were apparently targeted.
In any event, this was an underhanded stunt, pure and simple, intended to dupe student journalists into promoting offensive content that most would never run if they realized its true intent.
(Note: while I try always to link to other news outlets when their original reporting informs the content of a post, I have decided not to do that here in order to avoid giving this web site additional attention.)
I love the suggestion that the local media could have shared their expertise with the students, and used this lapse as a “teachable moment.” What a great idea!
Thanks for not linking to the new stories.
Last night I watched the Channel 2 story regarding this and came away very troubled by the way the whole thing was handled by the local media. It seems like the only way this story even arose in the media is that the perpetrators themselves contacted the television stations and newspapers (who then contacted the schools). Their goal was clearly to get the very coverage which those outlets provided like sheep. If the point of the story was that student journalists had been used by these miscreants and should be more discriminating, well their professional colleagues could use a lesson themselves as they were used by exactly the same people. Couldn’t the local media have helped out by letting the faculty advisers know about the problem and then maybe even meeting with the kids on the paper sort of as “colleagues” and giving them their thoughts and advice on how to avoid this kind of thing? I mean, it’s a high school newspaper and there was clearly not a huge lapse in judgment here (it’s not like the newspaper actually ran something racist or even a racist ad). Sure, a little more quality control, fact-checking, etc. is the lesson of the episode, but that’s why these kids are involved in this: to learn some lessons. The kids working on the paper seem like good kids (and we know they’re good students because of the school they go to). The local media should have cut them a break and helped them out, not exploited the story and allowed themselves to be exploited at the same time.