On Aug. 16, my inbox carried the latest “hot news” from Apple. The computer giant had sent out its latest worldwide marketing blitz crowing that the MU School of Journalism relies on Macs, iLife and Final Cut Pro.
What’s this? Journalists shilling for the most valuable company in America? Surely no one at Mizzou would debase themselves this way. It had to be a mistake.
But the link revealed a professional video featuring nothing but top journalism school administrators, faculty and students, all endorsing Apple products.
Apple’s producers wrapped the production in a fine cloak of respectability, invoking Walter Williams' creed and the fine education Mizzou offers, all thanks to Apple computers.
Apple must have been elated to show a great hall filled with 59 glowing Apple logos in front of virtually every student in a lecture.
When did those who claim to uphold the top standards of journalism decide that doing blatant commercial endorsements would have no impact on the credibility of the school, The Missourian, KOMU and KBIA?
Were students fully told, in advance, that they would be graduating, not just with a journalism portfolio, but with a starring role in an infomercial?
Was there not a single faculty member aware of the details or strong enough to say “No”?
Was there a quid pro quo assuring even more affordable computer deals for the school?
What might open records requests reveal in memos or contracts between journalism school leaders and the computer giant?
If The Missourian wishes to uphold its founder’s intent to show no fear or favor it will investigate what led to such an astounding ethical lapse.
I believe Walter Williams would feel ashamed and betrayed.
I know I do.
Vince Patton is a graduate of the MU School of Journalism, Class of ‘85