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Monday, September 20, 2021

Keep a Tab on shoddy journalism

HANNAH LEE / AGGIE
HANNAH LEE / AGGIE

Recent “news” source seeks to entertain, fails to inform

UC Davis students may have noticed Facebook posts on student-wide pages, such as “Free and For Sale” and “UC Davis Textbook Marketplace,” that have absolutely nothing to do with the theme of the group. Much of this spam is a result of articles from The Tab, a new national journalism project that has attempted to establish networks at individual college campuses.

The Tab is another national journalism “business” looking to draw readers by publishing biased, erroneous click-bait disguised as “journalism.” As the largest on-campus publication at UC Davis, we at The California Aggie do our best to provide the UC Davis campus with a true journalism “lab.” We teach our writers how to conduct interviews, how to structure stories and how to report holistic, unbiased news articles while also following long-established journalistic style. Additionally, The Aggie makes sure to clearly differentiate between different types of content, such as news, opinion pieces and reviews. Other student-run campus publications, such as The Davis Beat and the Davis Political Review, also work to provide legitimate journalistic experiences for their staffs.

The Tab, however, seems to teach none of these core journalistic fundamentals to its writers. The line between editorial and news content is frequently blurred in The Tab’s articles; reporters frequently interject the forbidden first-person into their articles, and headlines and captions are outlandish and overwhelmingly biased. As a result, The Tab loses its journalistic integrity by tacitly prioritizing page views over producing legitimate content and accurately informing the UC Davis community.  

The Tab’s Facebook page describes its mission as producing news “UC Davis students care about, in a style you actually want to read.” In its first article introducing the “publication” to UC Davis, The Tab promises to provide “Aggies one site to visit for credible and entertaining news.”

The problem with The Tab’s mission is that it seeks to entertain. Entertainment can be a byproduct of effective journalism, but it cannot be its mission. The Tab completely fails to understand this and therefore completely fails to serve and inform the UC Davis community.

The Editorial Board urges UC Davis students to resist reading The Tab and to look instead to student-run campus publications to stay informed. The Tab’s content is an insult to the intelligence of the thoughtful, engaged UC Davis student body, and you all deserve better.

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