Last Monday and Tuesday, Mizzou Students for Life reserved Lowry Mall to display The Genocide Awareness Project (GAP), a graphic photo exhibit aimed at discouraging abortions. The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) sponsors the demonstration, which places posters of aborted fetuses beside posters of genocides, lynchings and animal and child abuse. According to the CBR’s website, the exhibit “compares the contemporary genocide of abortion to historically recognized forms of genocide. It visits university campuses around the country to show as many students as possible what abortion actually does to unborn children and get them to think about abortion in a broader historical context.”
I saw the display Monday, found the images disturbing, and chose to reroute my walk to class. As I walked away from Lowry Mall, I noticed students with reporting pads and cameras taking notes and photographs of the display, its volunteers and counter-protesters. I suspected those students were Maneater employees, and confirmed that suspicion Tuesday when I saw student-run newspaper’s front-page article and photos.
The GAP demonstration caused a stir on campus. The Maneater recognized the relevance of the event to its readers with an article and an editorial. In my opinion, these takes on the display and its impact captured the spirit of the event and the majority campus reaction. Below is my review of each story, and why I think they work:
1) The article. I believe that Cassa Niedringhaus‘s article presented a controversial situation within its context without sensationalizing it. She didn’t just share all sides; the people she quoted and the number of perspectives she included accurately represented the perspectives at play. Niedringhaus answered the who, what, where, when, why and how, and she did so without revealing her personal opinion on the subject. Her comprehensive article provided enough information for readers to understand what took place and decide for themselves what they think about the event.
2) The editorial. Sometimes I cringe at the thought of student editorials and columns. I have found that many teenagers and young adults are stilling refining their skills of producing intelligent, quality arguments (I am one such young adult). But in my view, The Maneater’s editorial on the anti-abortion display is well-thought-out and well-written. The Maneater editorial board explains their majority stance, and outlines why they view things the way they do. The opinion is well-presented, well-supported, addressing all the issues at hand.
Controversial issues like abortion can be tricky for professionals to tackle, much less student journalists. I believe The Maneater provided accurate, effective, thorough coverage on this story. It gives me hope that student media outlets can help develop critical thinking skills and thoughtfulness in their employees/volunteers, our future journalists.