On the last Friday in January each year,
students pick up their copies of The Michigan Daily in the morning
and do a double take. At first alarmed at the gang murders or evil
twin invasions reported on the front page, they eventually realize
that the newspaper in front of them is a fabrication.
What follows is sometimes laughter, sometimes outrage and most
often, a little of both.
The spoof issue produced by seniors on their final night at the
Daily has become a tradition in the past few years. Members of the
Daily staff and many of their fellow students look forward to
reading this compilation of satire, off-color humor and inside
jokes. But they will not find it next January. This year’s
editors will not publish a spoof edition, and we will ask our
successors to follow our example.
It will be said that the Daily caved in to pressure, or that it
fell victim to the informal censors that stifle politically
incorrect speech on campus. But the decision the editors made this
week, after much reflection and debate, was prompted by the
Daily’s own mission, as outlined in its bylaws:
“We will strive in all cases to uphold a sense of
Those words guide all of us who believe the Daily is a critical
part of the discourse on campus. They compel us to remember the 113
years in which the Daily has continually reached toward excellence
and, more often than not, achieved it.
The most important component of “journalistic
integrity” is the determination to tell the truth. The Daily
has valued that goal above all else, even when it has conflicted
with its immediate self-interest. When charged with
irresponsibility and bias, as in 1961 by the Student Government
Council and in 2002 by a student-organized boycott, the Daily has
reported the views of its attackers alongside its own.
But on one day of the year, the Daily has thrown aside its
devotion to honesty. Today, we renew our commitment to print the
truth, every single day.
We can neither take back what our predecessors have published
nor promise that our successors will continue what we have started.
But we can and do pledge to our readers that we will work to earn
their trust and respect with every issue of the Daily.
Jordan Schrader, Editor in chief