Why Controversial Articles Matter

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Returning Label volunteer, Chris Leroux, gives a broader discussion of his views on Halls and reflects on the difficulties of controversy in journalism.

 

Some of you might have noticed that I wrote an article about how living in Halls for a second year may have not been the best experience in my life.

When I wrote it, I had no idea the reaction I’d get. Indeed, I felt it would shrink into obscurity as soon as it was published, lost at the back of the internet full of videos and memes. How wrong I was, the article I wrote when I was half asleep in my bedroom whilst a pre-drinks was occurring in my kitchen, caused calls of concern and cries of “Halls are great”. But then also shouts of “I agree”. I never thought that one of my articles would cause such juxtaposed opinions on a topic.

Halls in themselves are controversial; some love them, and some absolutely hate them. Some stay in them for their entire Uni life and others move out as soon as they can. I should know, I’m on the HSF.

I think I should make it clear my stance on Halls before I move on to the main topic of this article: I love Hall spirit, I love the communities that they create, and I love the fact that they’re so close to lectures (unless you live in The Holt). But I also dislike, in my personal opinion, living in halls. Sometimes you want to isolate yourself from the world, and at least in my particular hall, you can’t, whether that be due to intentional noise such as parties, or unintentional such as the person above you getting up in the middle of the night to go to the toilet.

I am not going to say that you have to love or hate halls. It is not my place to tell you how to think. In my opinion there are major pros and cons to living in halls, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to live in them or get involved.

Now I’ve emphasised my stance on Halls, let’s get to the matter at hand: controversy.

Journalists cause controversy on a daily basis, whether that be reporting that a political party is doing a bad job or that cats don’t like a certain cat food. It is the eternal worry for a journalist that they cause too much controversy and lose their job and/or reputation.

But controversial articles are soimportant to both the freedom of the press but also to society as a whole. Everyone reads a controversial article, everyone has an opinion on it. Controversy typically increases the level of coverage an article receives, thereby increasing public awareness and education on the issue.

Writing these articles leads to positive change, as instead of ignoring the issue because society is often afraid of confrontation, it brings these opinions to the forefront of people’s minds and opens up discussions between individuals with conflicting views.

My article on Halls, whilst now considered controversial by some, has led to people actively discussing the issues. To ignore them helps nobody. I feel my article was justified in being published and I still appreciate my role as a member of the HSF. If anything I believe it is a positive force for change and I will certainly be doing everything I can to make sure that a positive impact is made as a result of my article.

 

Featured image by: Omeiza Haruna

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About Author

Label Editor for 2018-19; nominated for best volunteer writing at the 2018 Media Awards; a dog person.

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