Student Journalist Answers Jack White’s Concert Stage Admonition

University of Oklahoma freshman rocks the live performance beat

EmilySharpFebruary4ArticleWhat a week it has been for Emily Sharp, a freshman journalism major at the University of Oklahoma and assistant life and arts editor for student newspaper The Oklahoma Daily.

On Super Bowl Sunday, very close to the exact moment when Pete Carroll and his offensive coordinator were (wr)etching their names into the Bungle Hall of Fame, she posted the contract for Jack White’s February 2 concert at the school. A trivial detail about a guacamole recipe was seized upon by social media, and by Tuesday, Sharp was explaining her public-information methods and public-need-to-know motives in a  follow-up article:

White said at the concert, “Just because you can type it on your computer doesn’t make it right.” We agree completely.

This is something journalists go over extensively in media ethics courses and within their organizations. Two of our standards, as outlined by the Society of Professional Journalists, are to seek truth and report it and to minimize harm. We reported the truth of what the university paid White and what White requested in his contract.

Journalism must hold public figures accountable. By our university paying White and his band $80,000 to play on campus, he is a public figure. Also, the university officials who booked White were public officials tasked with managing money, some of which comes from students’ fees. We reported the costs so students could see how their money was being spent, who was spending and on whom it was spent.

Late Friday, White’s agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) Monotone Inc. denied rumblings that it had crossed off  Sharp’s university from future client appearance consideration. Meanwhile, also per the campus reporter, the university essentially broke even on the Monday concert event, taking in monies that were $1,000 short of costs.

P.S. Sharp is also an author. Check out her Los Angeles-set fiction debut here.