Editorial: Remember your student journalists!

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The first edition of The Whit. - Photo via Rowan University Website.

Thursday, Feb. 22 marks the sixth annual Student Press Freedom Day which celebrates and recognizes the work of student journalists across the country. The Whit Staff believes that the work of student journalists is an important pillar of university life and without it, higher education institutions would not be able to function.

According to Studentpressfreedom.org, “Student Press Freedom Day is a national day of action when we celebrate the contributions of student journalists and the need to support their independence without censorship or threat to their advisers. We call attention to the arbitrary and needless censorship of student journalists, and call upon elected officials to restore and protect student press freedom.

For universities to function they need student journalists who operate separately from the university. What makes student journalists unique is that they hold both students and faculty accountable for their actions. 

The Whit has served Rowan University since 1938 and it has celebrated eight decades of student journalists. Over the decades, Rowan student journalists have sought to ask some of the most important questions. 

Should every man serve? December, 1966.

During the midst of the Vietnam War, Glassboro State student journalists asked the question: “Should every man serve?” In their reporting, student journalists found that Glassboro State students were conflicted about the issue. 

Speaker Warns about the implications of war with Iraq. November, 2002.

Before the Iraq War was in full swing, students across the country grew worried about what effects the war could have. In November of 2002, Rowan students investigated how the student body truthfully felt about the situation. 

Ally Network educates college community about homophobia. November, 1992. 

Students at Rowan took it upon themselves to create safe spaces for LGBTQ students. These spaces provided students with networking opportunities along with educational opportunities. Rowan student journalists reported on clubs like these.   

To wrap up this editorial, The Whit Staff believes that this report from March 9, 2000, captures the importance of student journalism. 

Access to public records [is] essential to reporting. March, 2000. 

The Whit Staff from 2000 explored why access to public records is essential to reporting. 

In honor of Student Press Freedom Day, we at The Whit urge you to consider how might Rowan, and society in general, function differently without its student journalists.

For comments/questions about this story, DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email thewhit.opinioneditor@gmail.com.

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