Hartnett's Criticism of FM Story Misdirected

Letter to the editor

To the editors:

The form of sympathetic journalism called for by Kevin Hartnett ’03 in “Suzanne and Randy” (Column, March 11) is a contradiction in terms. Hartnett asserts that the article on Suzanne M. Pomey ’02 and Randy J. Gomes ’02 in Fifteen Minutes should not have been written because it detailed the alleged crimes of fellow Harvard students, showing lack of compassion. In reality, the article simply demonstrated an abundance of journalistic integrity. As Hartnett himself notes, the piece was well researched—including interviews with former teachers, hometown community members, and on-campus friends—and tastefully written. If Hartnett had chosen to focus his ire at the caustic columns written by Ross G. Douthat ’02 and Jordana R. Lewis ’02 soon after the story broke, we might have agreed with him. By writing instead on the FM article, Hartnett causes us to question whether he understands the objective of journalism—to expose the available facts on a given issue. The FM article did that. If The Crimson wishes to be considered a true newspaper, like The New York Times or the Boston Globe, then it must at times write on unpalatable issues. If “compassion” at times must be sacrificed to achieve quality reporting, then so be it. We believe that the readers of The Crimson would rather have article full of hard facts than sympathetic musings.

Ayanna S. Williams ’02

and Gila D. Jones ’02


March 11, 2002