If you don't want to take the consequences, don't say it

by ANNE KUNKEL

"If you want to say it, put your name next to it," John Hatcher, a journalism professor at UMD would say. And frankly, I would have to agree.

I believe that there are too many anonymous sources out in the world today. If you look in the paper only about 70 percent of editorials have a name placed next to it. The number of names next to an online blog or commentary is even smaller. In my opinion, if you're brave enough to say it, then be brave enough to be known for it.

In my hometown if a letter to the editor isn't signed, it isn't published. This is how I think all newspapers, both print and online, should run editorials.

I understand that it is easier online to get upset or excited about something and blog away without thinking things through. However, that is where trouble begins.

Many times when you write something and feel very strongly about what you wrote, you don't hesitate to save it in your hard-drive. As you look it over through the next couple of days, you realize how strong it sounds, but think that it is too good to just discard, so you decide to go ahead and publish it. However to keep from other comments it may bring up, you publish it anonymously.

My theory is this: if you don't want to take the consequences for saying something, then don't say it.

Being able to publish anonymously has given us the state of mind that it's ok to say anything we want, because there are no consequences. Take the example from John Hatcher's editorial of comments against Iraqi students who attended St. Scholastica. If students were required to state who they were while making comments, I would bet that none of them would have said anything harmful or have said anything at all.

We live in the age of technology. That technology is predicted to keep growing and growing, giving us ample opportunity to state how we feel about things both on and offline. My challenge to us it this: think before you publish. If you wouldn't say it out loud to someone's face, should you be saying it online?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Jour 2101 published on November 28, 2010 2:51 PM.

Registration would make comment writers accountable was the previous entry in this blog.

We fight to establish identities, yet insist on anonymity is the next entry in this blog.

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