Equal Coverage: Students Ticketed During Hailstorm

It always helpful to consider both sides of a story before you leap to a conclusion, and it’s even more helpful when the news media provide both sides of  a story to readers.

In this article published in Oklahoma State Universities The Daily O’Collegian, both sides of a parking dispute are represented fairly. It’s  surprising that a college news service could provide a better example of sound journalism than CNN.com, but there it is.

According to the article, OSU students who parked in a campus garage without parking permits were ticketed during a recent hailstorm. Hailstorms in this area can be particularly devastating, and people go to great lengths to find covered parking.

“The Oklahoma State University Department of Parking and Transit Services issued 64 tickets in five hours.”

The students were naturally unhappy to receive the tickets and expressed their opinion that the extreme circumstances should warrant an exception. However, they acknowledged that rules are rules.

The parking enforcement offices outlined ways students can protect their cars during storms, but emphasized the rights of permitted patrons.

“The department wants to do everything it can to help students, but it has to help customers who pay to park in the garage first,” said Steven Spradling, director of the department of parking and transit services.

Further, parking officials reassured readers that the citations were issued as part of  routine enforcement, not a stake out of students who sought shelter without permits, and offered details on how to appeal tickets.

This article made an impression on me because it was fair to both sides of the argument. The same situation, covered by a larger mainstream news service, would generate an article that would vilify enforcement officers and support a misguided public perception that “rights” are exempt from rules.



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