NYTimes Slammed for coverage of Irish Students' Deaths, called program 'embarrassment for Ireland' - iMediaEthics

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A screenshot from the Times article.

After five Irish students died in a Berkeley, California balcony collapse, the New York Times reported that the work-visa program J1 the five were in is “a source of embarrassment for Ireland.” In addition to the five Irish students, an Irish-American student from California died.

Readers were not happy about that characterization, the Irish Times reported. And now, public editor Margaret Sullivan is looking into the matter, she tweeted.

The June 17 article, “Deaths of Irish Students in Berkeley Balcony Collapse Cast Pall on Program,” stated:

“The work-visa program that allowed for the exchanges has in recent years become not just a source of aspiration, but also a source of embarrassment for Ireland, marked by a series of high-profile episodes involving drunken partying and the wrecking of apartments in places like San Francisco and Santa Barbara.”

The story also claimed Irish students “come by the thousands…to work summer jobs by day and enjoy the often raucous life in a college town at night.”

The article also cited a 2014 column in the Irish Voice about an incident when Irish students with J1 visas destroyed property, and reported on a Facebook page for Irish students and the “work-hard, party-hard lifestyle.”

Irish politician Aodhán Ó Ríordáin wants a retraction and an apology from the New York Times, the Irish Times reported.  Ó Ríordáin, the Irish Minister of State, called the New York Times article “completely insensitive and outrageous” as well as “victim blaming.”

“The focus should be on why this balcony collapsed instead of being sucked into all kinds of stereotypes which are offensive when you could consider the depth of feeling in Ireland about this tragedy,” he added.

iMediaEthics has asked Ó Ríordáin for further comment. He also tweeted about the article.

UPDATED: 6/17/2015 3:29 PM EST The Times has apologized for insensitivity. Read more here.

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NYTimes Slammed for coverage of Irish Students’ Deaths, called program ’embarrassment for Ireland’

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