By Tomi Simmons
Today marks Student Press Freedom Day. Around the nation, student journalists are constantly pushing the envelope in their communities. However, this has not gone without consequence. College and high school programs are often under scrutiny due to the misconception that student journalism does not have merit.
At the Spectator, the staff expects and demands all writers to have credible sources in their articles. It is also expected that if an interview is necessary, it is done in a respectful manner and follows the guidelines of interviewing. If those variables are a part of the reporting, then it is to be published. Many institutions follow those common rules and do have strict guidelines for publishing an article. Student news organizations rely on their readers for funding just as any other journalism organization does, and so students do attempt to have integrity in their reporting at all times.
In addition, The Spectator always accepts letters to the editor and opinionated articles for the Viewpoints section.
Personally, I am grateful to have the freedom of the press because of the op-eds and political cartoons I have created in the past. In addition, I have always been granted the right to report on any world affair as long as I had reliable information.
It is important to protect the freedom of the press for students because there are journalists today who do not feel safe in their environments. I have encountered students who have wanted pen names because of the backlash they would receive if their identity was revealed. In addition, there is a constant worry that work will be censored because of the material being released. This should not be the case, student journalism provides the community on campus a chance to understand events happening around them, opinions in their environment, and to be part of the identity of the campus.
Student Freedom Press day is the celebration and the recognition that student journalists deserve the freedom of the press in their organizations. Luckily, Spectator holds value in the freedom of the press and is constantly reaching to ensure that that value is respected by our community.