There’s a practice in journalism: any story with the words “may” or “might” in the headline isn’t really a story. Dan Kane’s news story about Eric Hoots (“How UNC basketball’s academic aide may be connected to bogus classes”) fits that rule to a T.
Some key facts about Hoots’ responsibilities were omitted. Hoots is a liaison with the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes and has no counseling or academic responsibilities – and never has. To be clear, we provided Kane that information, but he left it out.
Kane’s story implied the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a mere formality that we “could” ignore and easily provide him with a student’s academic information. He knows better. We can’t. It’s a federal privacy law to protect the rights of all students.
Professional newspapers don’t have to resort to innuendo because they have facts to back up what they publish. The News & Observer didn’t. Yet again, Kane was allowed to write his own narrative instead of reporting the facts. The final word on this story should be Kane’s apology to Eric Hoots.
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Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill