Editor in Chief David P. Funk responds to feedback from last week's
article about Seth Thomas
Issue date: 10/9/06 Section: Opinion
We've received a great deal of feedback on News Editor Brandon
Thomas' article in the Oct. 2 issue of The Chronicle about the
celebration of Seth Thomas' life.
Brandon's story has been called a number of things in the past
week, including defamatory and disrespectful. It's been brought to our
attention that some instructors have devoted entire class periods to
debate about the article's, and Brandon's, ethics. It has even been
suggested that Brandon step down or be relieved of his duties as news
editor. In particular, the mentioning of an account shared by a friend
about urinating on a table raised eyebrows.
The Chronicle offers its most sincere apologies to anyone offended,
as I do as editor in chief. We've contacted some of those close to
Seth, including his mother, to express our regret for anything they've
seen as distasteful about the story. It was important to her that we
explain it was the opinion of his friends that he "broke into
buildings to take pictures" and "urinating on tables" was not an
everyday occurrence. Seth's girlfriend, Audrey Castaneda, said she was
not offended by the article.
I would like to clarify some things about the article.
It was not an obituary. In accordance with his wishes, a
"celebration of life" was held in place of a wake for Seth. It was
Brandon's job to report on that event. The event was supposed to be a
happy one and friends and family shared memories of the good times
they remembered with Seth. One of his friends told a story about
urinating on a table. Brandon was only reporting that. While some may
have been offended by the sharing of that story, it is not the job of
a journalist to skew how Seth's friends and family will remember him.
Though some parts of the article may have needed more clarification, I
stand by the decision to run the article. I will not ask Brandon to
step down and I certainly will not be firing him.
As editor in chief, I take full responsibility for any damage
caused. Anyone caring to discuss this issue any further should contact
David P. Funk
Editor in Chief