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Clarification by Motley Magazine in light of UCC Societies’ guild response The following are excerpts from the UCC Societies’ Guild response to the two articles published in Motley Thursday 16th February 2012 regarding contact: “I would like to point out that only once during this investigation was the Guild Executive contacted for any purpose and that was at the print deadline” “Had we been asked at any point during the month while the article was being published for assistance we would have been more than happy to sit down with the writers and aid them in ensuring that their articles were factually accurate.” 

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Motley magazine went into the Societies Guild Office on Tuesday the 31st of January, we received a copy of the Guild accounts for the year 2010, and we requested a copy of the guild accounts and a copy of expenses for 2010/2011. We were told these were not available yet as they had to be passed by Joint Academic Board at their next meeting. We went in two weeks later and requested the documents again. We were told that they would call us back on the issue. No call was received. A third representative went into the office and they were informed again that the documents were not available. The articles took a long time to piece together and we only finished late on Tuesday the 14th of February.

“They claimed that we were contacted for a response and that we declined. This is misleading in the extreme, in that while it is true that we were contacted, we were contacted mere hours before the piece went to print.” 

At 11.41am on Wedensday the 15th of February, I sent the two articles via Facebook to the Guild President and the Guild Vice-President. (They were sent via Facebook, as I was led to believe by a status update that they had both gone on a trip to Scotland and it would the fastest mode of contact, the status turned out to be a “frape”.)

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At 1.20pm, the guild Vice-president rang current affairs editor Jerry Larkin and asked for a meeting with him. In the meeting, he requested that Jerry change several points in his article, which we did, and declined to comment on the record. At 5.00pm, I received a call from the SU commercial and communications officer stating that the guild president had rang him requesting the articles to be removed or changes be made. I sent him the articles with changes made however; I advised him that Jerry had to look further at his article but had to go to a lecture. At 6.30pm we spoke to the guild vice president again, who was unhappy with the changes made and requested that we make further changes, which we duly did. At 7.00pm, I received an email from the Guild president with comments detailing which changes they would like made to my article “UCC Societies’ Guild: an organisation in need of reform.” We made changes to the points deemed factually inaccurate.

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At 7.14pm, I emailed the president again asking him one last time would he like to comment, he declined stating he could not reply adequately in time. At 4.20am on Thursday morning, I sent Sam Ryan the deputy president of the guild, the final PDFs that had just been finished. Once again, I stated that we would take anything out that was factually inaccurate.

I received no more contact from the societies’ guild executive. At 11.00am I received a phonecall from the UCCSU comms and communications officer inquiring were the

changes made. He confirmed this with the Guild President so we went to print around 1.00pm on Thursday afternoon.

The following are excerpts from the guild response regarding sources:

“We regret that they feel it was appropriate to print a story with such deep and serious accusations, many errors and lacking any reliable source.” “One must question the journalistic integrity of a magazine whose definition of an investigation involves not contacting any single person to whom the story pertains, relying solely on anecdotal evidence and one source who they refuse to name.” 

I have highlighted the various sources we had for our articles. We had first-hand witness accounts and documents. The first article had 14 different sources and the second had 6 sources. We chose not to name sources, as many are still involved in societies and we were worried that naming them might affect their reputation among their peers.

Article by Kevin Curran

Article by Jerry Larkin

I will decline to comment on the several inaccuracies that I saw regarding content in the response by the guild, as I do not want to engage in a tit-for-tat argument about who said what. I suggest if you so wish read over the response and the articles and ask   

Did they answer any of the questions asked of them in the articles, in the response? Did they paraphrase the articles correctly? In addition, did they tell the truth as regards contacts and sources?

Students can make up their own minds. I did not want to respond but felt I should defend the journalistic integrity of the magazine when it was wrongly called into question. It is a dangerous precedent if the free student press is attacked in such an aggressive way over coverage intended to inform students and open discourse. Kevin Curran- Editor-in-Chief Motley Magazine

Motley Clarification  

Clarification regarding Societies' Guild article