Letters to the Editor
This letter is in response to "Fraternity Life & Death" (MetroNews, March 4). I wrote an article on the same issue for the Spartan Daily, and I was disappointed at how Metro handled it.
The writer seems to have made a conscious effort to make the parents of Gregory Johnson Jr. look dumb and untruthful while giving people on the other side of the issue courteous treatment. The writer prodded the parents to answer a question regarding the father's alleged drug use and reported the mother's resistance to answer the question directly, but the writer did not prod others in the story to answer relevant questions and did not call attention to others avoiding questions like she did to the parents.
During my reporting on this case, the San Jose State University Police Department did not grant me an interview. Instead, I was forced to direct my questions to Pat Lopes Harris, the SJSU media relations director, who wrote my questions down so that she could present them to a UPD officer. She later told me that the officer refused to answer every single one of my questions. Almost all of them regarded events that had already happened and at least two officers should have been able to answer them from memory.
Your article includes no information from UPD, not even a statement that the department declined to comment. Instead, it features quotes from three people, whose backgrounds are not in police work, saying that the fraternity has been unfairly criticized and that its members need time to grieve. I think such arguments are used to sway the topic away from questions regarding the chance of foul play having been involved. It is simply unfair that UPD refuses to say a word about this case. UPD should be questioned, point by point. SJSU seems compelled to let UPD off the hook without such questioning, and your article supports that effort.
Lastly, your article listed the wrong address for the fraternity house. The error may seem like a simple typo, but the exact same error can be found in the autopsy report. If nothing else, this error shows that officials do make mistakes and that reporters should not always trust officials to provide the truth.
Metro's article in no way portrayed the parents of Gregory Johnson Jr. as 'dumb and untruthful.' The article quotes several SJSU officials expressing sympathy for their loss. Our reporter did ask the parents difficult questions—that is her job. While the letter writer may be disappointed that Metro did not uncover a murder conspiracy and cover-up involving the UPD, the County Coroner's office, and all of the members of the Sigma Chi fraternity, we found no evidence to support that charge. The Sigma Chi house is on North Tenth Street, not South Tenth Street.—Editor
Glad to Be Back
The Metro "I Saw You" column—I missed you so. Week by week, I've wondered where you went, waiting in vain every Wednesday for your return and now you're back, back to make me laugh, cry, feel. Welcome back, "I Saw You" column, welcome back.
Our karaoke article in last week's issue was selective, not exhaustive and did not cover all the karaoke hot spots in the valley. So here's a shoutout to longtime karaoke favorites Bogart's Lounge and Tech Pub at 1209 Wildwood Ave., Sunnyvale, which hosts karaoke Fridays and Sundays; and 7 Bamboo Karaoke Lounge at 162 Jackson St., San Jose, the 2008 Best of Silicon Valley winner. If we missed your favorite spot, let us know. Our complete karaoke listings start on page 66.