As we begin a new school year, we pause to remember the lives of four community members who died over the summer. We remember students William Tobin, Daniel Arnold and Edward Brown and Marianist brother Frank Deibel, S.M., as beloved members of our campus community.
Covering a death is a difficult task for journalists. In covering death, we confront the reality of our mortality, the injustices of life and the pain of questions left unanswered. These experiences can cause even the most skilled and diligent editors to challenge instinctual values of reporting the news. Covering death, as in covering life, requires both vigor for the truth and sensitivity for the needs of the community. In times of mourning, as in times of celebration, journalists must be accountable yet independent.
As our community’s newspaper of record, we are charged with the responsibility to accurately report on the stories and experiences of our fellow community members, in their joys and sadness, triumphs and tribulations, in their lives and, yes, in their deaths.
Such coverage may, in the wake of grief, seem insensitive or coldhearted. Yet, it is imperative to explain that coverage of death stems from a profound respect for the unique mystery of life. In choosing not to cover the final moments of these men, we would reduce the legacy of their lives only to rumors of their deaths. Our community would be left only with more questions about these tragedies, at a time when they have questions to spare.
In stating the realities of their passing, perhaps we can begin to enter the celebration of their lives.