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Intentionality before immediacy

For many students at Belmont, these past few days have been very difficult.

Our campus lost a senior nursing major–a friend, a peer in a chilling reality that life is full of unanticipated plot twists and obstacles that aren’t always visible in the facade of day-to-day routines.

Even more importantly, a mother and father lost a son.

This week, the Belmont Vision’s social media and staff members were continually asked to share details regarding the incident that both Metro and Belmont communication asked us not to divulge.

Those details do not change the fact that Belmont lost a member of its community or that a family is grieving.

To those who complained about not receiving immediate information, I simply retort, we are not a tabloid and to publish information haphazardly would be disrespectful to the Belmont community.

We share information when we are confident it is accurate. We would rather be last and correct than first and wrong.

When you receive communication from the Belmont Vision, the delivery is intentional, and we take what we do very seriously.

You must understand, that with any incident, we take painstaking caution as to what gets published. A tweet of less than 140 characters is proofread by multiple editors before being sent out. If that’s a tweet, imagine the amount of attention a story gets.

I can guarantee this is not strictly Belmont Vision protocol.

In news, there is a chain of command regarding communication. Generally, if there is an incident on campus, primary information will either be delivered by Belmont communication or Metro.

It is media’s job to decide what needs to be disseminated to the public. The media are not hiding the truth from you.

More times than not, the media are observing a code of ethics established by the Society of Professional Journalists when they don’t immediately share all information.

Part of that code is to minimize harm, to avoid pandering to lurid curiosity and treat victims with care. We want to give you accurate information, while at the same time maintaining our ethical integrity.

Had we published everything we knew, this would probably have been a public letter of resignation because I wouldn’t want to write for an organization that disregarded the human element of last weekend’s incident.

Belmont, please think before you speak. Just because information is instantly available does not mean you deserve instant access or that it is correct.

When you do speak, speak with intention. Speak with care. Speak with love.

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