September 22, 2019 | 77° F

Targum’s report about Skelly Field deceiving and ambiguous

Letter to the editor

The Daily Targum’s reporting on the expansion of Lot 97 into a part of Skelly Field has been misleading and inflammatory.

Despite what the paper’s headlines and pictures of an expansive Skelly Field may suggest, the N.J. Department of Environmental protection has approved just eight percent of the field for development.

According to the DEP’s letter of interpretation of the area, the majority of Skelly Field is still listed as environmentally protected wetlands and as such will remain undeveloped. Only the area approved for the parking lot expansion, a small plot stretching southeast from where the current lot ends until the curved path leading away from the tennis courts and toward Dudley Road, has been deemed not environmentally protected.

In their reporting on the issue, The Daily Targum did not make this information clear, though it seems they may have been privy to it. In a story published in the paper last week, the Daily Targum cited a letter — presumably the DEP’s letter of interpretation — that stated, “freshwater wetlands and/or state open waters are not present within the limit of disturbance.”

The limit of the disturbance is mapped in that same letter.

The obvious question is, why did the paper deem the details of the limit of disturbance — the area slated for development — not important enough for publication? If they had, much of the public confusion over the fate of Skelly Field likely could have been quelled.

Instead, The Daily Targum has helped facilitate a discussion among the student body without seeking to clarify facts and provide context to the conversation.

In a video published Monday on its website, a Daily Targum interviewer is heard asking students for their opinion on “them turning Skelly Field into a parking lot,” reinforcing the non-fact that a key part of Cook campus’s green infrastructure will be sacrificed for the sake of parking spaces.

The paper also published a column on Monday in which the author suggested that Rutgers convinced the N.J. DEP to declare Skelly Field environmentally unimportant.

This combination of reporting and opinion has led to a flurry of letters to the editor submissions and shares of the paper’s stories on Facebook but has missed key facts resulting in the student body’s distraction from what else is happening in their community.

As a fellow on-campus student publication, Muckgers hopes that The Daily Targum will do its due diligence to the student body that we serve.

Simon Galperin is the managing editor of Muckgers and a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies with minors in cultural anthropology, political science and public policy.

By Simon Galperin

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