Stanford Daily distances itself from "easy athlete class list" article (updated)

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The Stanford Daily front page, March 9, 2011
*The Stanford Daily* is trying to downplay its top story today, [“Stanford athletes had access to list of ‘easy’ courses,”]( after it provoked widespread outrage among students (and [at TUSB]( and [inside *The Daily*](ttp:// who feel it blew the issue out of proportion. The story has also garnered Stanford a lot of [negative attention]( in the [national media]( (There’s nothing wrong with shaming Stanford, of course, if it’s deserving–but here it’s not.) Zach Zimmerman, Editor-in-Chief of *The Daily*, added the following “Editor’s Note” to the online version:

The following story was not written or edited by The Stanford Daily staff. The production occurred under the guidance of California Watch.

But as Autumn Carter notes here at Fiat Lux, the article’s authors include nearly a dozen former or current Daily writers and editors (and one former Review editor). Also, it was featured in the number one spot on the front page of today’s Daily, which is a decision made by The Daily’s own editors.

My view: it looks like a bunch of people went hunting for scandals at Stanford. It speaks quite well of Stanford that this is the biggest scandal that a group of 17 investigative reports could find. I might expect to see an apology from the editors of The Daily and possibly some of the writers as well, if only for them to maintain good standing with their friends who are athletes.

Update: Zimmerman (Daily Editor-in-Chief) has posted a letter about the article, where he states, “As editor in chief of The Daily, I stand by the story that was published.” It looks like they are taking responsibility for this article, despite the initial signs pointing to the opposite (that led to this blog post).

Even within The Daily, there’s disagreement over the validity of the story. Wyndam Makowsky writes about his perspective on “The List”:

The List, on its own, is not a story. … I do not fault the reporting team for pursuing this angle or question why this report was written. The group includes some of the best journalists I have encountered in either an amateur or professional setting, and I trust their judgment. That said, it is perhaps too quick to label the courses as “easy,” and there is missing context, both in terms of the world inside the Stanford bubble—the singular focus of the piece—and the national scene.

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