Torch writer falsifies sources

Each week, the Ferris State Torch publishes a collection of stories involving students interacting with the FSU campus and Big Rapids community.

Throughout the years these stories have praised, influenced and at times criticized university policy and events. As a student-run newspaper since 1931, we have always prided ourselves in speaking for the university’s nearly 14,000 students.

However, one of our writers was recently accused of falsifying quotes when reporting stories criticizing university programs and events.

After investigation, it was revealed the writer had indeed attributed quotes to fictitious FSU students and was immediately terminated.

Though mistakes are an inevitable part of life, the way in which we deal with our imperfections should be how we define ourselves. The Torch has chosen to take a public and proactive approach toward addressing this issue in hopes of being an example of honesty and integrity.

The Torch would like to apologize to Entertainment Unlimited, the Card Wildlife Center, the Music Industry Management program, the Ferris State Theatre program and any students, staff or faculty who were offended by the plagiaries written.

Our entire staff works hard each week to maintain the trust of our readers and will continue to work earnestly toward upholding the journalistic standards of our newspaper.

The purpose of a student newspaper is, and always has been, to be the voice of the student body. At FSU, the Torch has been a voice for students for 80 years. The staff has continued to fulfill this purpose weekly through personal stories of student life, community events and campus tragedy.

Greater than a society’s need for information is their need for social ethics. The acts of the reporter were undoubtedly unethical and in no form reflect acceptable journalistic standards of the Torch or any other media outlet. It’s not only our goal, but also a part of our legacy to be objective, honest and ethical.

Over the years these characteristics have assisted in building a bridge of trust and communication with our readers. This was our goal 80 years ago, and will continue to be our goal in the future.


I would like to start by saying how inappropriate this article is. If you had any respect at all for your former co-worker you would not be rubbing their nose in this mistake. Writing this article in the Torch is distasteful. You are publicly humiliating the person in front of over 14,000 students, faculty, and community members. Even though you do not name names, it is fairly easy to distinguish who this past writer was and I feel it is very unprofessional. Where do you get the nerve to place yourselves on such a high pedestal? Degrading and tarnishing their name through writing is not fair to the past writer. I have lost all respect for the Torch and what it stands for.

I think acknowledging that the Torch published an article full of lies and is giving a public apology to the people who might have been hurt by what was said is not only very big of the paper and its staff, but also absolutely necessary. There is no pedestal, just setting things straight and righting wrongs.

This is certainly one perspective – it would have been easier in a lot of ways to brush this issue under the rug and hope it wasn’t noticed. The Torch Editor in Chief elected to address this situation in order to help maintain the trust and respect of readers – that is what any newspaper is built upon. It may have had the opposite effect with some, as you note, but the overwhelming response at this point has been positive. In light of some national stories that are examples of what happens when you do not honestly address your own problems, I think the Torch staff handled this very well.

I am proud of the way the staff chose to take responsibility for this situation.

Steven Fox
Torch adviser
Ferris Professor

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