Hands off Chelsea p.8

By: Allan Wolper in campus paper New policy, like old, favors privacy over
publicity on first daughter

The Stanford University student newspaper will not try to get Chelsea Clinton's views on the sex scandal that threatens her father's presidency when she returns to the Palo Alto, Calif., campus this week as a sophomore.
"We have a purpose about what we do and that purpose is not served by asking Chelsea Clinton about what is happening to her father," said Adam Kemezis, the 21-year-old editor of the Stanford Daily.
"What other papers might cover is not important to us," Kemezis explained last week in a telephone interview from the paper's office. "The travails of the president are not part of the coverage area."
"There might be some interest among our readers about Chelsea. But I think that some of the interest is probably in the nature of gossip or prurient interest. We don't feel that we are serving any purpose by asking Chelsea to give us some of the secrets of the Clinton family."
Kemezis made his decision even as Chelsea Clinton went on a highly publicized vacation with her father that seemed intended to polish the president's image as a family man at the peak of the Lewinsky sex scandal.
The same no-coverage policy will apply to Carolyn Starr, the daughter of special independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who is entering Stanford this fall.
E&P interviewed Kemezis before and after Starr sent his 445-page report to Congress, and after it was released.
Under a different editor, the Daily decided last year to treat Chelsea Clinton as if she were Chelsea Smith, although it published front-page stories about her decision to enter the school. The Daily ran long stories when President Clinton and his wife, Hillary, arrived on campus during freshman orientation week.
The paper drew fire when Jesse Oxfeld, one of its columnists, posted a story on his personal Web site criticizing the Clintons for disrupting the campus during the visit. Oxfeld took the action after the Daily refused to publish it ? unless he removed the Chelsea item.
"After Jesse posted his column, some people wrote that we had a complete blackout of Chelsea coverage," Kemezis said. "That is not true. We covered the president's arrival because that was a big story."
Kemezis, whose policy continues one begun last year under his predecessor, said the Daily would cover Chelsea if "she does something on her own that is newsworthy, like run for student government."
The Daily received some media calls last weekend after Page 6 of the New York Post reported Chelsea might skip the fall semester to remain with her family.
"We checked it out," said Kemezis. "That was a false rumor." He conceded that his newspaper had a unique, competitive advantage if it decided to pursue stories on Chelsea Clinton.
"I don't know her personally," he said. "But some of her friends are friends of some of our friends here at the newspaper."
The Daily editor says journalists who criticize the student newspaper's policy might "feel differently if they were on our campus. We owe it to her to try and allow her to have as much of a normal life as possible."
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site:http:///www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher September 19, 1998) [Caption]


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