2 UVA Student Newspaper April Fools' articles unpublished for victimizing, stereotyping race - iMediaEthics

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(Credit: Cavalier Daily, screenshot)

The University of Virginia student newspaper, Cavalier Daily, unpublished two April Fools Day articles that mocked an attack on a black student and imagined a fraternity theme party about Rosa Parks.

“We deeply apologize to anyone who felt hurt, marginalized or that their experiences were trivialized by these pieces,” the UVA student newspaper’s managing board said in an April 1 apology. The newspaper admitted its missteps amounted to “victimizing” and stereotyping.

1. The first April Fools’ article that got the Cavalier Daily in trouble was a spoof on an actual event involving a real black student at the University of Virginia.

The fake news story article “ABC officers tackle Native American student outside Bodo’s Bagels” was supposed to respond to the real-life Alcoholic Beverage Control’s arrest in March of student Martese Johnson, the newspaper said.

According to Business Insider, Johnson, a black student, was “left severely bruised and bloody after his arrest for allegedly having a fake ID.”  (More on that here.)

2. The second hoax story that was unpublished for tis insensitivity and bad taste was headlined “Everybody move to the back of the bus: Zeta Psi hosts ‘Rosa Parks’ party.”

It was originally intended, editors said in their apology, to”highlight the offensive nature” of “themed fraternity parties.”

The Cavalier Daily‘s April Fools’ Day fake news article featured the real fraternity Zeta Psi holding a themed-party using Outkast’s “Rosa Parks” song, the Washington Post reported.: The fake student article said:

“Pour one out for the Civil Rights Movement!…Brothers … are giddy with excitement as they prepare for their annual ‘Rosa Parks’ party this Saturday. The beloved party’s title refers to a song released on Outkast’s 1998 album.”

The Cavalier Daily said in its apology: “The April Fools edition is meant to start a conversation and provide satirical commentary on important issues. The April Fools edition is not meant to come at the expense of our peers. We neglected to foresee that these pieces would come across as the latter, and for that, we regret their publication.”

It acknowledged Johnson’s real-life arrest wasn’t a joke but “was a highly traumatic incident.”

After the arrest, the newspaper said “we have felt upset, angry and confused alongside the student body.” But its satire article after the arrest “undermined” the incident. “We had no intentions of victimizing another underrepresented community in the process,” the newspaper added.

For the fraternity article, the Cavalier Daily editors acknowledged “readers were hurt.”

“Our intention was not to perpetuate stereotypes, but to highlight the offensive nature of these themed parties in the past,” the paper claimed.

While the articles have been unpublished and the online publication of the issue has apparently been deleted as the link goes to an error page, photos of the articles were published on Twitter. The issue was clearly marked an “April Fools Issue.”







iMediaEthics has written to the Cavalier Daily for comment.

Hat Tip: Poynter

This story was originally published at 5 AM April 6.

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2 UVA Student Newspaper April Fools’ articles unpublished for victimizing, stereotyping race

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