Columns / Discourse / February 15, 2017

On anonymity in print

On Tuesday, The Knox Student received a letter from a fraternity member in response to last week’s editorial on reconsidering security at frat parties. The letter was slipped under the door to our office and unsigned.

TKS’s policy states that we cannot publish anonymous letters to the editor. We would only do this in extreme circumstances where the revelation of an author’s name could lead to an infringement of their privacy or cause possible harm to them. The same goes for granting anonymity to our sources, which we have done on rare occasions. The process of granting anonymity is not taken lightly and is thoroughly considered by our staff, our adviser and the source or letter writer themselves.

Giving people anonymity for reasons other than those aforementioned discredits our publication and makes it possible for people to speak without consequences. If we make an exception for one letter, we risk a spiral of repeated anonymous submissions. Not to mention, if ever someone should make a claim or accusation in a letter that is incorrect, there are a slew of legal issues that could arise as a result.

The act of writing a lengthy letter to the editor or agreeing to an interview indicates that an individual sees the worth of having their voice and opinion published for the public to see. If you believe in an issue so much to submit a letter or be interviewed, it’s important to stand by your thoughts and put your name behind them.

If the author of this letter would like to re-submit this letter with their name attached, I would be more than happy to publish it. Responses to our editorials, articles and columns are an important and necessary facet of our publication and our staff encourages such discourse. If you disagree with an opinion expressed in the paper, we would love to hear your thoughts. Should anyone have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at

Rachel Landman
Rachel Landman graduated in 2017, majoring in creative writing and double mimnoring in journalism and environmental studies. She was editor-in-chief of TKS her senior year and worked for TKS for a four years as a News Editor her sophomore and junior years and as a volunteer writer as a freshman. Rachel is the recipient of two first place awards from the Illinois College Press Association in 2015 for investigative reporting and news story. She also won second place awards in 2016 for news story and sports feature story. She saw her staff win general excellence for 2016. In addition to The Knox Student, her work has been published in the Galesburg Register-Mail and Catch Magazine. She studied abroad in London during Winter and Spring Term of her junior year. Twitter: @rachellandman_

Tags:  anonymity column discourse ethics fraternity letter to the editor media ethics security The Knox Student

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