Photo by: Editorial Cartoon By: Jessica Mouton

Free student press essential to giving students a voice

September 22, 2016

The First Amendment to the Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press. As a college newspaper, it is our job to embrace these First Amendment rights as we work to be an open public forum for student expression at Nicholls State University.

We are a student newspaper, and are run for the students by the students. It is our duty to report what is happening at Nicholls, good or bad. While we are proud of our university and enjoy publishing all the good things that are happening, it is our duty and obligation to also serve as a watchdog, seeking the truth and reporting it. We are not and should not ever be seen as a public relations tool for the university. We are the voice of the students.

To be the voice of the students, we must maintain our independence from any sort of administrative oversight or control. The student journalists and editors at The Nicholls Worth make all content decisions for the paper. We do have an adviser whose job is to train, educate, guide and critique us. The adviser’s job is not to proofread, edit or otherwise determine the content of the paper. That is our job.

We work to inform Nicholls students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community about what is happening nationally, locally and especially on campus. To meet this mission, we gather information from interviews, meetings and public records, which state law gives us the right to request and research. We are unable to give you all news that matters without access to the information we need. However, even when it is difficult to get this information, we work tirelessly for you, the students. That is our duty.

To effectively do our job as the voice of the students, we need to hear your voice. Give us feedback. Give us suggestions. Even give us criticism. We want to work for you. We want to give you all of the information you have the right to be aware of. We are here for you. That is our responsibility.

The rights provided by the First Amendment do not only apply to us as student journalists. They also apply to you as students at a public university.  So while we should not be told what to print, you should not be told what to say. Every day, we see examples of college students forfeiting their right to free speech. In the news, we see college students and student newspapers losing their voices. The First Amendment belongs to each of us. It is time that we all work to defend it. That is our right. And yours.

As this Constitution Week comes to a close, we encourage you to use your voice, fight for your freedoms and support your student newspaper. We are yours.

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