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Satire That’s Not So Easy to Write


It’s starting to look an awful lot like journalism students on campuses in Colorado have been skipping some basic J-School 101. If you’ve been hiding under a large piece of sushi the last few weeks, you may have missed the latest example of poor judgment to reach the pages of a student newspaper.

Max Karson, an editor for the University of Colorado’s Campus Press, posted an online opinion piece titled “If it’s war the Asians want…It’s war they’ll get.” In it, he calls for other students to meet at a central location on campus, and chase after Asian students (checking under sushi, of course) using stereotypical descriptions to ensure they are identified correctly. He even goes into a hog-tying segment.

It was intended to be satire.

It looks like Karson forgot to read the chapter on how to write that genre effectively as his words came off as little more than hurtful, racist and just plain mean, thus washing away any positive intent his column merited. CU responded by forcing Campus Press staffers to attend diversity training. This is the second large gaffe recently—you may remember a Colorado State student editor penning a column “F**k Bush….” Student newspapers are one of the best ways for aspiring journalists to get their feet wet in the profession—but someone needs to remind these budding young writers, reporters and editors that although speech is free in this country, that doesn’t mean they have carte blanche to publish hurtful rubbish. They need to respect that freedom if they want readers to respect them.

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