What is freedom of press? A question, many journalists have battled for decades. It appears, more than ever, this freedom is being denied from reporters around the country. Not only by the President of the United States but also on college campuses. Freedom of press is defined as the freedom to circulate opinions without censorship of the government. Of course, there are regulations to this aspect of the amendment.
For example, one cannot publish information that is false or defaming a person in the media. It has come to my attention that members of the Pacific University administration have been upset by some of the misleading information printed in our newspaper this year. While, usually I am a radical defender of the Index, I will admit we are not perfect.
When I came to pacesetters before my freshman year, one of Pacific’s main selling points was to “deliver an education free from ignorance.” This is a concept the university has stayed true to throughout my three years as a Boxer. I would be ignorant if I said that the Index is perfect, does not have typos and interprets every fact in an interview perfectly.
We, as a unit, would also be ignorant if we did not accept the criticisms of our faculty and administration. I welcome anyone who feels that they have been misquoted to write to the editors with corrections. These corrections would be published in the following issue. With that being said, ignorance can be a two-way street. I am grateful to be taught by an advisor that has such passion for the style of writing. Being a journalism major means being a journalist in training and we as students of the art form are going to make mistakes.
Whether it is because we are tired or because of natural human error, these mistakes decrease with practice and critique. It is not our goal to publish stories that portray the university in a negative manner in an attempt to gain publicity. Our professors have taught us how to conduct a proper interview, but once again, not every student is going to be Walter Cronkite. It is also the job of the source to give an in-depth response that will not be misconstrued by the reporter. This year I have written articles which have received negative feedback from fellow students.
I admit my ego was bruised at first, but after I found that I had been biased in my article and the criticism helped me to learn from my mistake. Our current Co-Editor-in-Chief Clara Howell, was selected for the Charles Snowden school of Journalism internship and will be working with The Gresham Outlook next fall. The students taking over the role, Max Kirkendall and Harrison Clifford, have followed in her footsteps, working closely with the Pamplin Media Group Executive Editor, John Schrag.
I could not ask for a more professional group of students to work with and I assure you that we work our fingers to the bone to publish honest articles. It is not our intention to defame any person or department, but rather to save a traditionally respected media outlet:, a student newspaper. Student reporters are the eyes and the ears of this institution and are necessary for the right of student expression. We are here to learn the art of journalism in order to prepare us for our future career in the field. Therefore, any complaints about our paper should be presented to the staff rather than our advisor.
The Index is a staff of hardworking individuals who work long hours with little recognition. Yet, we do it because of a strong belief in the freedom of the press. The Pacific Index has been a part of this campus for 125 years and we will work to make sure this does not change.