We are students. We are journalists. And there is not a difference between those two roles except that we write, edit, and produce a newspaper in weekly installments.
This week, we were incensed to find out that one of our reporters was restricted from covering a Cultural Center and Pan-African Studies-sponsored Let’s Talk Luncheon concerning the use of the N-word on Twitter by a former REACH Ambassador.
According to those responsible for making this decision, we were not restricted from the event because we are the Louisville Cardinal, but because we are a news source, period. For the administration to even attempt to restrict the legitimate activities of a news organization is an affront to our readers, as it allows for the administration to go unchecked.
Though event leadership recognized that the conversation needed to be had, by removing student media from the equation, they crushed a discussion that could have been opened up to the whole student body through the Cardinal.
At any public event, student journalists may function like ghosts, hovering at the back of the room, gathering quotes and taking names without ever speaking to anyone. When a member of the student media makes him or herself known, the opportunity is created for event leadership to voice opinions about how the issue should be treated with the appropriate sensitivity. This does not give them the right to attempt to limit or eliminate publicity, though it is always acceptable for them to refuse to comment.
Any student can attend any public event, especially Let’s Talk Lunches, which have traditionally been open to all, especially student media. And even without the support of an established press, he or she could still write about it in a public fashion. He or she could write a blog post, or print out posters, or even take out a billboard advertisement. He or she could even tweet about it.
Photo courtesy of ivygateblog.com