The Berkeley Tragedy & A response to the New York Times

On the 17th on June this year, I was sitting in the kitchen when I heard the news. Six irish students (one with dual Irish-American citizenship) were killed after a balcony collapsed in Berkeley California. Seven others were seriously injured. My heart sank, my mind racing, trying to calculate how many people I personally knew on their J1 in that exact location.

I logged onto Facebook frantically searching each and every friend I knew over there, mentally ticking off a list when I found that they all had statuses up to say that they were safe.

Although this meant that my own life would not be turned upside down as no one I personally knew was hurt, it was still a horrific tragedy which shook me.

As the details emerged minute by minute, more and more devastation emerged. While this was all horrifically painful, the New York Times decided to publish a story which added to the pain by being insensitive and badly written.

Many made sure to document their anger online, notably a well respected lecturer of mine; Colum Kenny and former president or Ireland Mary McAleese.


Before I read the statements above or any others, I took to Facebook to write my own. 

Originally published on Facebook June 17 2015

“The article in the New York times was presumably supposed to be about the Berkeley tragedy. But it instead, was a disgrace.

Instead of focusing on information of the tragedy that it was, the lives lost and the details of the accident, they chose to focus on how destructive the J1 students have been in recent years, something that is completely separate. But the writers chose to build their article around this. They got accounts from past J1 students about how great their own experiences were, which is incredibly insensitive considering all the students involved in this accident will not be able to do the same.

Journalism like this use to make me want to honestly drop out of my course, but now, it encourages me to become a professional in the media to help change the negative attitude people have towards journalists (and often, rightly so!) and to contribute to informing and educating people on the world around them.

This tragedy has made people upset and angry as it is, there was no need for the New York Times to further this. My heart is with the family and students involved and although I am not religious I pray that family and friends find the strength they need.”

The events that took place on the 17th of June with always be with me, I can only imagine the pain that those personally affected will live with forever. It is hoped that the support from the nation will be of some, if even minuscule, comfort.

Meg x


5 thoughts on “The Berkeley Tragedy & A response to the New York Times

  1. I am so sick of people stereotyping the Irish. Why even bring up “Drunken Partying” unless you are trying to start some BS? The majority of College Kids in general are drunken idiots at some point in their courses…that is a fact. It doesn’t matter where they are from or what color they are! The NY Times ought to be ashamed of themselves, especially when every other report by them is so Politically Correct that it makes you want to vomit! Hypocrisy at its best…

    Meagan SULLIVAN,
    The LoneStarBlogger

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, that is ashame. Being that I’m a college dropout, I don’t know all the ends and outs of journalism. But I do know that the media has changed in a way that is it very disgracful on all levels. I agree with you ( and attempting too) wanting to change how current issues and news are peceived. I’m glad that you share your story. Thank you.


  3. @Meagan Sullivan , that is so true, pretty much every student has been drunk and silly but regardless of this it has nothing to do with the balcony collapsing. Even in events in which alcohol influences death it is no more deserved. I too was shocked at The NYT as I would have considered them a reputable paper. Thanks for reading x


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