Fighting Against Censorship: #SaveStudentNewsrooms

Nicole F. Anderson, News and Co-Managing Editor

Not all student media organizations are protected by the First Amendment.

At the Independent, we are protected by the College Campus Press Act, which allows us to publish content without being censored. We do not need approval nor have to share our content with the administration before we publish. Across the United States, student media organizations are being censored and/or disbanded due to insufficient funds – that’s dangerous for the student body.

On April 25, student newsrooms and their alumni will participate in a nationwide day of action by sharing editorials and their testimonies on why student media is important.

These editorials and testimonies will discuss issues that student journalists face such as censorship and financial instability but also highlight why we do what we do.

This day of action was organized by Independent Florida Alligator Editor in Chief Melissa Gomez and two of her editors to educate the public on these issues. Leading up to the day of action, the Independent Florida Alligator and other newsrooms across the U.S. will use the hashtag #SaveStudentNewsrooms to gain more attention and traction to the cause.

Being a part of the newspaper is not as easy as it may seem. It takes dedication, patience, and thick skin. For every student quote we get, there were probably four or more students who declined to comment, and that’s okay. Being told “no” is a part of being a reporter.

We spend hours collecting and verifying information, finding sources, writing and then rewriting.

Writing a news article is not like writing an essay. There are specifics that go into it, for example, writing in Associated Press (AP) style and trying to write all of the information, quotes and other supplemental information in less than 500 words.

The hard work doesn’t end there. After articles are written, they are copyedited in which we look for tiny mistakes that can be fixed. Once articles are ready for print, the tedious job of the layout begins.

Editors and production manager(s) spend many hours staring at their computer screens plugging away on InDesign to create the physical newspaper that you hold in your hands.

Some of us spend more time working on the newspaper that we do at work and school combined. Sadly, many student newspapers can’t afford to pay their writers because of small budgets and/or insufficient ad revenue. Luckily, at the Independent, we receive a small amount of money for our hard work.

We don’t do it for the money. We do it because we love journalism and love writing for our peers, school, and surrounding community. We write for people like you.