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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    EDITORIAL: UA students entitled to accountability, openness

    There has always been a tension between government and the media, and the relationship between ASUA and the Daily Wildcat is no exception. This tension is inescapable, but more importantly, it’s a vital part of the democratic process.
    Part of the Daily Wildcat’s mission is as follows, “The student employees of the Daily Wildcat strive to provide the primary source of information, for, by and about the UA community, contributing to campus life by providing a voice for students.” In following this mission, we strive to hold every authority accountable, including the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.
    But like ASUA, we also need to be held accountable to the people we work for. And when we fail to fulfill our mission, we fail our readers. We demand transparency; it’s only fair that our readers expect the same of us.
    Each year, the Daily Wildcat interviews and selects ASUA senatorial, vice presidential and presidential candidates for endorsement. These interviews are a valuable part of the endorsement selection process because, as journalists, we recognize that anyone can write a nice three-paragraph blurb about their platforms. Face-to-face interviews force candidates to demonstrate how much research they’ve done and how much passion they have for the job.
    Each candidate was asked what they believe is the biggest challenge faced by students and how to address that challenge. We also asked what they would change about ASUA and the steps they would take to implement those changes.
    Typically, these interviews take place with several members of the Daily Wildcat’s editorial board. Because of a breakdown in communication, one we take complete responsibility for, interviews this year took place with just one member and appeared disorganized. Some ASUA candidates called us out on it, as they should have. While we stand by our endorsements, and continue to firmly believe that ASUA can do better than what it has offered, we also recognize that we can too.
    After the interviews, members of the editorial board reviewed our selections for endorsement. We were disappointed with the abundance of underdeveloped ideas and the lack of planning, bored by the dependence on meaningless buzz words and surprised by candidates who claimed ASUA needs little changing.
    What we failed to do for our readers was ensure that they understood why this matters. The Daily Wildcat’s overall coverage of ASUA has declined over the last couple of semesters. While the news reporters who cover ASUA are kept entirely separate from the endorsement process, overall coverage in both the news and perspectives sections of the paper builds context for readers. When that coverage fails to meet the standards we’ve set in the past, it’s hardly fair of us to point at ASUA and say, “You aren’t doing enough.”
    We don’t have any agenda, except to make sure other people are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. We don’t think they are. But neither are we.
    If we suspect ASUA is not doing enough, our news reporters have to report on that. If we think ASUA can do better, our opinions columnists have to offer solutions. And all of this coverage has to keep happening, every day.
    It’s important to note that the Daily Wildcat and ASUA alike are important institutions made up of students who have to fumble their way forward. We strive. We fall short. We learn from our mistakes and we try again.

    _— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Bethany Barnes, Kristina Bui, Steven Kwan, Luke Money and Michelle A. Monroe. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via
    @WildcatOpinions._

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