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In Fairness To UCLA

August 27, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 35

In their 2,500-word articleCalifornia Deal Tightens Lab Safety,” Jyllian Kemsley and Michael Torrice fail to give even passing mention to UCLA’s substantial efforts to improve lab safety—which have become a model for other institutions—since the tragic December 2008 accident and long before the Los Angeles County district attorney ever filed charges (C&EN, Aug. 13, page 34).

This leaves your readers with the wholly false impression that if not for the DA’s actions, the University of California, Los Angeles, never would have done anything to improve lab safety. Furthermore, in an article with 27 hyperlinks, not one links to UCLA’s widely circulated statement on the matter. In the end, UCLA is afforded nothing more than a single throwaway line in the last paragraph. The same goes for a July 27 C&EN OnlineLatest News post, “University of California Reaches Agreement in Connection with Charges in Lab Researcher’s Death.” That’s especially disappointing since UCLA has worked hard to give Kemsley open access to our actions and accomplishments over the course of her extensive reporting on this issue. She knows full well how hard we’ve worked, but she chooses to completely ignore it.

As a former journalist, I’m not naive enough to expect advocacy for our side from any news organization, but I do expect fairness.

By Steve Ritea
Associate Director
UCLA Communications
Los Angeles



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