The Sioux City Journal came out big and bold against bullying Sunday. The newspaper with a readership of nearly 77,000 used its entire Sunday front page to decry bullying in schools in the wake of a Primghar teenager’s suicide after enduring bullying over his sexuality and in light of a new documentary, “Bully,” that features a middle school student who was the victim of bullying in his time in the Sioux City.
For point-and-clickers outside the print journalism universe, it should be noted that this is a big damned deal. The Sunday newspaper is the biggest newspaper of the week. It’s front page is usually reserved for the most important stories of the day told with the best words, pictures and graphics and art.
To dedicate an entire front page to one story that is not a massive natural disaster, war or domestic terror attack — and to further give the entire page over to an editorial and editorial cartoon (drawn by my friend Brian Duffy) is unheard of in the modern newspaper era. The Journal has brought editorials to the front page several times in recent months, defending the makes of beef additive called “pink slime” by opponents and supporting a casino as part of major urban renewal.
But this goes beyond that. This is a beautiful statement that stands up for something right and also shows how powerful words can be when used for good. If this does not earn the western Iowa newspaper a Pulitzer, they should stop giving them out.