Former editor of The Daily Northwestern, who received backlash for his reporting of protests on campus, has been hired as a staff reporter for the New York Times.
The NYT announced Monday that Troy Closson, who was a member of NYT‘s 2020 fellowship program, had been promoted to staff and will cover criminal justice as a full-time reporter.
Closson graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2020, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student-run Daily Northwestern.
The Daily Northwestern received national attention in 2019 for an editorial apologizing to student protestors for publishing images of activists on campus.
The activists were protesting former attorney general Jeff Sessions’s visit to campus.
Daily Northwestern reporters tweeted images of students attending the disruptive protests and later used a campus directory to call some of those demonstrators for interviews.
The editors apologized to the protestors who felt harmed by the paper’s coverage of the demonstrations and took down the photos. The editors admitted that its reporters had committed an “invasion of privacy” by contacting the protesters for comment and said that the paper’s staff had since been educated as to “the correct way to reach out to students for stories.”
“We recognize that we contributed to the harm students experienced, and we wanted to apologize for and address the mistakes that we made that night,” The Daily’s editorial board wrote. “Some protesters found photos posted to reporters’ Twitter accounts retraumatizing and invasive. Those photos have since been taken down.”
The Washington Free Beacon reported that days after the incident, a Free Beacon reporter attempted to interview Closson about his involvement in the scandal. Closson avoided the press by allegedly “hiding in his office.” However, the Free Beacon reporter spotted Closson inside the paper’s office several times throughout the day.
The Daily Northwestern scandal received national attention from professional journalists across around the country.
Dozens of professional journalists argued that The Daily’s apology itself was the true mistake.
“There’s a lot to comment on in this Daily Northwestern editorial,” Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt tweeted. “But apologizing for contacting people to ask if they’re willing to be interviewed? Regretting that you photographed protesters protesting in public?”
“I don’t doubt the sincerity of these student journalists,” Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce tweeted. “But I worry that if journalists keep ceding ground on when it is acceptable to do basic reporting, we eventually play into the hands of powerful interests who would love to criminalize journalism.”
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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