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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Main Point: We need to protect student journalism

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The Main Point is an opinion written collectively by The University Star’s Editorial Board. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of our entire publication.

On Feb. 11, Texas A&M University’s student newspaper The Battalion reported its university’s president, M. Katherine Banks, demanded the 129-year-old publication to cease printing weekly editions of the paper immediately or it would be stripped of university resources. 
Banks’ reasoning was to shift the publication to a digital-based outlet under the direction of a new Department of Journalism. The decision was made purely by university administration and had no input from students working at The Battalion or the publication’s faculty advisor. 
As student journalists ourselves, we were devastated to learn The Battalion had been threatened to end production of its historic printed newspaper with only a day’s notice. With other student newsrooms ceasing operations across the country, such as The Ranger at San Antonio College, it’s now more important than ever to protect student newsrooms and fight against university censorship. 
While a student newsroom consists of students attending a certain university, the reach of student newspapers goes way beyond the university community it stems from. Like other professional news organizations across the country, student-led newsrooms are essential in sharing accurate and up-to-date information on policies, events and developments impacting its surrounding community. As newsrooms across the U.S. shrink, local politics are also being covered by an increasing number of student journalists.
Additionally, student newsrooms are essential in providing students with the skill sets necessary for pursuing a career in media. Most students involved in student media are often overworked and underpaid. However, as student journalists, we value the experience we get from reporting and producing print products. 
There is value in print in that it teaches us the foundations of journalism. Writing for print also involves learning how to write concisely and on a deadline, two important skills that any journalist or writer should know. 
While it may be true that we as a society have changed how we receive our news, student media is often our only introduction to working in the field of journalism. Without a print paper, we are robbed of experiencing what lies ahead.
Most importantly, independent student newsrooms are essential in holding institutions of higher education accountable for their actions as well as amplifying the concerns of the student body.
The lack of accountability to not even have a representative of The Battalion in the room as Texas A&M University leadership made the decision to suspend print, underscores a deeper problem in suppressing the voice of students. “I believe in the freedom of the press,” Banks said. Is it truly a free press with university officials making decisions for the newsroom?
Without proper representation, decisions like this one will continue to get made for student media outlets and control will continue to shift away.
With Banks’ future plans of The Battalion being under a new Department of Journalism, it allows the school to control and censor the content put out by students. This not only limits freedom of the press but defaces student journalism.
Banks has been the president of Texas A&M for less than a year and is already making such an absurd demand. Although the paper also began publishing its content online in 1997, The Battalion is a 129-year-old print newspaper and its presence on campus is vital to Texas A&M University. 
As of now, The Battalion will continue to print weekly issues until May. 
As Texas State prepares to name a new university president at the end of the spring semester, The University Star’s editorial board is concerned about what could happen next for our newsroom as we too have faced threats of university censorship in the past. 
Independent student journalism is critical in holding university administration accountable and bringing awareness to the triumphs and tribulations of our communities. The University Star stands with The Battalion and any other student newsrooms fighting for editorial independence. 
Student journalism matters, and it must always be protected. 

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