On Feb. 16, The Lantern published a story detailing the case of Greg Morgan, a handyman seeking $250,000 from the Ohio State College of Dentistry, claiming malpractice, breach of contract and fraudulent concealment.
It’s not our job, as Adam Squicquero’s letter to the editor suggests, to “seek to publish content in (anyone’s) interest,” nor take “an active role in (anyone’s) destruction.” As the student voice of the university, we pride ourselves in offering to our audience the news that pertains to the widespread majority of the 60,000 or so students that grace the campus each day.
As such, we don’t manufacture news. There’s plenty going on around campus to fill our pages with every day. Morgan’s story certainly piqued our interest, and we felt it necessary to pursue the truth and relay that report to our audience.
The Lantern spent more than five hours straightening out Morgan’s story. We spent an equal amount of time reaching out to involved parties in the dental school, seeking a response, their side of the story, advice for whom else to contact, anything. We also looked over court documents and dental records.
We named five prominent sources within the school or relating to Morgan’s opposition who all declined comment. We cannot be faulted for their refusal to speak on the record.
The dental school maintains a mandate that instructs its population to refuse comment on ongoing litigation. No one in the dental school is legally bound to the rule of thumb, however. It is their choice to decline to speak with us and defend themselves. We gave them ample opportunity, contacting everyone in the dental school we could, often on more than one occasion.
Even so, we still wanted to cover all of our bases and provide the most unbiased, impartial look at the lawsuit as possible. Therefore, we made other parties aware of the case to comment, including Jeffrey Beausay, a trial attorney at The Donahey Law Firm in Columbus, and Dr. Peter Urbanik, a dentist at Brookview Dental in Sylvania, Ohio. Beausay even noted how difficult it will be for Morgan to win.
We pursued the truth. In an ongoing legal feud, there are multiple truths at play. We portrayed them as equally and objectively as possible, given the circumstances.
This story will not affect our coverage of the dental school. We will continue to cover both sides of the coin as merited, but it is important to understand that we don’t determine “positive” and “negative.” News filters into our newsroom and comes out on our pages without bias.
Accusing us of “a shameful display of pseudo-libel” is closer to committing libel than we were in our article. To make that accusation but then admit “the standards of ethical journalism are not my specialty” spells out the true definition of hypocrisy.
It isn’t our job to bolster someone’s reputation; it isn’t our job to destroy one’s reputation.
We merely project the news in as impartial a way possible to appeal to the population at OSU. We don’t choose what people do with it.