March 17, 2010

As Campus Mourns Deaths, Media Descend Upon Ithaca

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As the campus community seeks to move past the string of recent suicides on campus, Cornell continued to garner national and international headlines Wednesday.

The New York Times ran a front page story that asserted the recent student deaths “have cast a pall over the university and revived talk of Cornell’s reputation – unsupported, say officials – as a high-stress ‘suicide school.’”

A range of other news organizations picked up the story, including the BBC, The Guardian, AOL News, The Associate Press and Gawker, a popular New York news and gossip blog.  Daily Intel, a blog on New York Magazine’s website, reported about the deaths with a particularly crass headline.

The Huffington Post has aggressively covered the student deaths at Cornell since last Thursday. HuffPost blogger Rob Fishman ’09 – who is a former Sun columnist – posted a lengthy story about gorge-related suicides at Cornell. Fishman wrote his masters thesis at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism about “Cornell suicide mythology.”

The University has taken issue with some of the media coverage. 

“I’m disappointed with some of the reporting and some of the headline-writing,” Deputy University Spokesperson Simeon Moss ’73 said. “Some of it isn’t entirely accurate.  Some of it is not helpful.”

While Moss said that some stories have been accurate, he added that much of the media attention “gives a false perception of the University.”

“The suggestion that we’re a ‘suicide school’ is not borne out by either the statistics or facts,” he said.

Update, Mar. 18: NBC’s Today Show ran a segment Thursday morning about the deaths.

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Original Author: Sun Staff