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FROM THE EDITOR: The Sun Always Rises

Journalism today is an important public service. In the past year especially, we have seen the traditional media fail in disappointing ways to cover many of the relevant issues and to hold various people and institutions accountable. These failures constrain the agency and imagination of our communities to build a just and democratic future. The responsibility that reporters and editors are tasked with — the responsibility to keep the public informed — is gruesomely demanding but nevertheless essential. The Cornell Daily Sun is exempt neither from the challenges that journalism faces nor newspapers’ foremost obligation to serve the community.

GROSKAUFMANIS | Falling for Fake News

I don’t think I really understood the insidiousness of “fake news” until I read and believed a piece of it myself. Last weekend, I was in Montreal with other Cornell students for a conference when Trump’s executive order on immigration was signed and confusion turned into logistical panic. The people running the conference went from committee to committee and addressed the ban, explained that some people might have difficulty getting back into the United States and offered their support if anyone found themselves stuck at the border. It wasn’t dramatic or political, it was to-the-point. And still, for obvious reasons, people were freaked out.

GROSKAUFMANIS | Publisher’s Dilemma

The 24-hour news cycle during an election is its own type of arms race: media outlets all want the story, they want the story first and they need to match the information of their competitors in order to win over an evolving readership. Journalism has always been motivated by this kind of competition. However, now that the news isn’t always punctuated by a print cycle, and is made boundless by the Internet, the pace has been accelerated and certain considerations are becoming sloppy. Now add the fact that new documents, WikiLeaks, have been added into the category of “what news competitors have in their arsenal” and the information arms race is brought to a level that is not only competitive, but potentially unethical. The media matters a lot in any election.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | 1967 Redux: The Murder of Anthony Nazaire

To the Editor:
The fatal attack on Ithaca College student Anthony Nazaire and the futile police hunt for his killer bring to mind the still unsolved murders of nine Cornellians ― eight students and one faculty member ― who perished in the April 1967 fire at the Cornell Heights Residential Club (now Hurlburt or Ecology House). Survivors were relocated to other campus and Collegetown lodging; two of these residences suffered fires, Watermargin on May 23 and 211 Eddy Street on May 31. All three fires were confirmed to be arson attacks when evidence of fluid accelerants was found. Classes ended, the summer break came and when the fall 1967 term began the incendiary attacks were all but forgotten. The Cornell Board of Trustees had imposed a policy of official silence.