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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Harassment: is something missing?

I receive periodic e-mails from my university's alumni association with news items about the university.

Here's one:

First, check out this list of headlines.

The article in question is titled as follows, and the e-mail included a single-sentence summary:

UNC CLEARED, LECTURER CITED IN HARASSMENT INCIDENT
After a five-month investigation, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights determined that UNC responded appropriately to an incident in which an English lecturer targeted a student for criticism based on the student's race and gender.

Now, read the article.

I think there was something missing from the summary. They didn't mention the unique angle to the story, that the discrimination was targeted against a white male heterosexual. What well-crafted news story doesn't start with the most noteworthy fact?

It'd be like starting an article "A Giants player hit a home run in today's game" without mentioning that it was Barry Bonds's 700th home run.

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