To the editor:
According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, journalists should “identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability. Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.” Unfortunately, Dolph Simons, Jr. either doesn’t know or has disregarded the ethical obligations of his profession.
A primary characteristic of his “Saturday Column” in the Lawrence Journal-World is the unnamed source. For example, in last week’s rant, Simons quotes “a senior and prominent KU faculty member” as saying the university is “a factory which turns out degrees ... not an education.”
Funny, as a senior and prominent faculty member, I don’t remember saying that. I also know many colleagues who should be described as such, and I can’t imagine them delivering such a groundless backhanded slap to their colleagues and students.
The facts are clear, Simons appears to listen only to those voices that share his bitter bias toward the university. That Simons, his source, or both choose to deliver apocryphal quotes under a cowardly cloak of anonymity undermines their credibility.
As a 20-year veteran of the KU faculty, I demand that you either name the source of the quote and provide specific examples to support its premise or apologize to KU’s hard-working staff, faculty and administrators who have dedicated their life’s work to service on behalf of the people of Kansas. While you are at it, please bone up on the SPJ Code of Ethics.
David W. Guth,
KU associate professor of journalism