Chelsea Clinton: Just another student p.11

By: Allan Wolper Despite her news-making parents, the campus paper keeps her out of the news

The Stanford Daily, after brief reflection, decided impeachment, Hillary Clinton's Senate candidacy, People magazine, or an occasional stint as a recruiter were not enough to warrant a change of policy in covering Chelsea Clinton.
"We will cover her when she makes news on our campus," comments James Tankersley, the 21-year-old junior editor of the campus newspaper.
Tankersley says that he consulted with his staff last weekend and decided not to change the paper's 18-month-long policy on coverage of the first daughter.
"If Hillary Clinton runs for office and Chelsea makes a speech for her here, we'll cover it. If Chelsea runs for student council, we'll cover it. Otherwise, we'll leave her alone," Tankersley says.
"And the feedback we've gotten from the national media has been overwhelmingly positive."
The first family received assurances from reporters in both Washington, D.C., and Palo Alto, Calif., that they would respect her privacy during her high school and college years.
Her appearance last summer on the front pages of America's newspapers has not shakened Tankersley's position.
"We want her to have as normal an experience here as possible," he says, noting the same rules applied to Carolyn Starr, daughter of independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Marsha Barry, press secretary to Hillary Clinton, made a tour of the newsrooms in the Palo Alto area to push the Clinton family's agenda for a press-free Chelsea.
"Chelsea is a student trying to lead a private life and never has called attention to herself," Barry says in an interview from her Washington office.
The visit was so successful that Chelsea's attempt to help Stanford recruit a high-profile, Trenton, N.J., high school basketball star went virtually unreported in the American press.
"She told me it [Stanford] was the place to be," Dahntay Jones told the New York Daily News in October 1997, the first semester Chelsea was enrolled in the California institution. He told E&P that he was taken to a fraternity party by a Stanford player where he was introduced to Chelsea.
"She asked how my visit was going," Jones recalls. "She said she was having fun at Stanford. It was interesting to see a face in person that you see on television. It was nice meeting her." Jones eventually chose to attend Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J.
Karen Peters, a recruiter at Stanford, says Chelsea was not part of an organized effort to lure athletes to Stanford.
"If she meets people, it would be on an informal basis," Peters says. "Chelsea has a lot of friends among the student athletes. We are a small campus, with only 6,500 students. So an athlete might run into her somewhere."
William Woo, former editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, says the Daily probably erred in not covering Chelsea's work as a recruiter.
"That sounds like news to me," says Woo, referring to Chelsea's basketball pitch. "But the Daily made a principled decision. This is a news organization that identified an issue, came to a decision, and steadfastly followed it."
Woo, the Lorri Lokey Visiting Professor of Journalism at Stanford and a member of the campus paper's board of directors, added, "To me that is good journalism."
Jerry M. Ceppos, executive editor of the San Jose Mercury News, agreed with the student paper's policy.
"You can include us among those who thinks Chelsea deserves some privacy," Ceppos comments. "I don't think we missed anything by treating her in a gingerly way."
David E. Price, editor of the Palo Alto Daily News, says, "I define news as what I find interesting and there are things out there I found more interesting than Chelsea Clinton."
And the People magazine cover story about the relationship between Chelsea and Hillary Clinton that provoked an outraged response from the first family has not produced any surge of media activity at the Stanford campus.
"There has been no incidents involving the media," laughed sergeant Rick Enberg of the campus police.
?(Win MacNamee/Reuters) [Caption]
?(Chelsea Clinton) [Photo]
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http:www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(Copyright: Editor & Publisher March 6, 1999) [Caption]


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