Badly drawn cartoon creates controversy at Sac State

Editors at Sacramento State’s Hornet apologized in October 2010 for a cartoon (left) titled “Why Baseball is the Best Sport Ever,” which ran after a student was beaten to death with a baseball bat by his roommate. Now the school’s provost, Joseph Sheley, has ordered the Publications Board to make sure offensive material is killed before publication. He told the Sacramento Bee’s Diana Lambert:

I want the advisers and the editors to work a little harder – to discuss the issues and some of the pitfalls that might accompany certain kinds of stories, instead of dissecting them after the fact.

The Publications Board says it recently introduced a checklist for student reporters to use to guard against legal, accuracy, privacy, taste or ethics problems, and added a “not to offend for the sake of offending” policy. Hornet Editor Dustin Nosler says the cartoon flap has prompted staffers to “take more care in what we’re doing. It opened our eyes a little bit.”

* Sac State provost pushing for changes at school newspaper



  1. Glenn Fleishman said:

    The weekly paper I worked on in college once ran a cartoon in which Spuds McKenzie appeared to be performing an intimate physical act with his tongue on a young woman. The point was anti-advertising, and it wasn’t bad. But it was a bit much.

    The editor in chief at the time lost an internship because the head of the public affairs office, who had judged candidates for it, thought that the strip running was a sign of bad taste or morals or some such.

  2. The concept of not offending simply to offend likely will be lost on the following groups who flock to these boards from time to time:

    * The ones who long wistfully for the “good, old days” when people drank, smoke, swore, and did other envelope-pushing things inside the newsroom.

    * People whose logic consists of: “If we can’t regulate (completely unrelated item), then we can’t regulate this.”

    * People who think: “Worse things than this appear on TV/the Internet. So this is OK.”