Tuesday, December 11, 2012

No Illegal at 'Arizona Daily Wildcat'

Posted By on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 5:24 PM

It seemed like it started last year, when the Society of Professional Journalists passed a resolution recommending newsrooms stop using "illegal alien," and even questioned the term "illegal immigrant," in stories on immigration when describing undocumented immigrants.

This year, the Associated Press stuck by “illegal immigrant," as did the New York Times.

Last week, on Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Arizona Daily Wildcat published that the student-run newspaper's standards and practices committee "agreed to use the term “undocumented.”'

You can read their announcement here. Snippet:

We easily could have ignored the issue without making a decision. We haven’t had a preferred style in the past and we could have continued to go without.

However, because of Arizona’s proximity to the border and how frequently border security issues come up, even in higher education, it seemed important for the Wildcat to have a set style when it came to this term.

At the beginning of November, Ruben Navarrette, a syndicated columnist with The Washington Post Writers Group, wrote that groups pushing for the word “undocumented” are trying to “shame the media” into political correctness.

The Wildcat staff explored this idea, but agreed that using “undocumented” isn’t about trying to talk around the issue or dress it up as something it isn’t. Using “undocumented” is about avoiding characterizing someone’s entire personhood by one civil offense.

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