Staff Editorial: Independence key in student newspaper viability

A Quinnipiac University task force has recommended the Connecticut school’s paper, The Chronicle, transition to being independent of the school during the next two years, the Student Press Law Center reported.

Being an independent student newspaper certainly has its pros and cons, but overall student media must have autonomy. Ideally, the student paper could simply exist without administrators forcing detrimental policies onto it, but becoming an independent paper is probably the only way to ensure its freedom.

The SPLC also reported, if the university’s president approves the change, during the transition The Chronicle would have a senior business student assigned to be a publisher and general manager for the paper. Although this would certainly help The Chronicle through the rough financial patches, the paper must be allowed to control what and how it covers its campus.

The Daily Cougar, though partially funded by student fees, is an independent publication. The final decisions regarding editorial content of the paper fall on the names on the editorial board at the top of this page. The editor in chief for Summer and Fall 2008 will be elected Tuesday, and we invite all our readers to come give input on the Cougar and ask questions of its potential leaders. The meeting begins at 4 p.m. in the University Center Satellite Allison Room.

We do not take this responsibility lightly. That means the mistakes we make are our own, and the good things we do are our own. This characteristic of independent newspapers makes them invaluable as teaching tools and opportunities to excel.

Ultimately, student papers must be able to function without their school holding sway. Independent publications can better perform their function as watchdogs for universities, but independence also makes the newspaper staff solely responsible for the material that goes out every day. This is a vital lesson every journalist must learn, and college journalists should be no exception.

Student newspaper staff members are some of the hardest working students on any campus, or at least they should be, and as such they must have both the freedom and responsibility to do their work to the best of their abilities.

Whether the Quinnipiac task force’s recommendation is followed, we wish The Chronicle luck in whatever lies ahead. If the paper officially becomes an independent paper, it must have the freedom afforded to any other press.

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