Although the Sioux City Journal, an Iowa newspaper, has run front-page editorials in the past, it has never been the entire page. This changed Sunday when it devoted the front page to an anti-bullying editorial, in response to the recent suicide of 14-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn Jr.
“A lot of newspapers shy away from putting editorials on the front page, but we feel we have to be a strong advocate for our community,” said Editor Mitch Pugh. “And it we don’t do that, we’re not sure who else is.”
The Journal‘s message is simple: ”We must make it clear in our actions and our words that bullying will not be tolerated.” The opinion piece makes a cry for the community to take an active approach to stop bullying. It also points to a recent documentary, Bully, which focuses on the harassment of a middle school student in Sioux City.
The editorial spoke about the death of Weishuhn. “In Kenneth’s case, the warnings were everywhere,” it read. “We saw it happen in other communities, now it has hit home. Undoubtedly, it wasn’t the first life lost to bullying here, but we can strive to make it the last.”
Pugh said the newspaper did not consult with Wesihuhn’s family prior to publishing, noting ”this was a bigger issue than one person.”