Editorial: Why a free student press matters to Georgia State

By Chris Young | The Signal Archives

Student Press Freedom Day is Wednesday, Jan. 30, which is one of our most important holidays here at Georgia State’s only independent, student-run newspaper.

Having a student press that is unhindered by university or governmental regulation allows students access to an expanded breadth of coverage on any — and we mean any — topic that needs to be covered. We have investigated research grants, followed development projects, interviewed exceptional students, discussed in faculty diversity and broke news on tragedies our campus has faced.

Because we’re filtered only by journalistic integrity, we are untouched by ulterior motives or muddied politics. Our paper isn’t funded by some national corporation that pulls the strings on our content. Our content is strictly derived from student observation and investigation.

This freedom allows us to tell your stories and also provides you a platform to speak. Adjacent to this editorial is a letter to the editor, a type of public column which allows any individual to directly speak to our campus. We continue to provide this opportunity for you to directly engage with us and your peers. You speak, and we listen.

Our autonomy also allows us to hold the university accountable. Consider when D.W. Pine, former editor of The Signal, investigated a seemingly “political” contract with a cafeteria that prevented other restaurants from coming to campus. That was back in 1989. Still today, faculty, staff and students alike are able to understand what’s happening on our campus from an objective third party. Through open records requests, interviews with Georgia State’s top administrators and various other journalistic practices, we deliver the scoop on university news that affects you.

Our area of operation is also much more catered toward students than other outlets. You won’t always see the Atlanta Journal-Constitution or WSB-TV — both exceptional news outlets — reporting on university-wide issues. We bring the news as local as it gets, straight to the hallways and sidewalks of Georgia State.

In the past, students at other universities have fought for their right to work without prior review from university personnel. Thankfully, we have not been challenged on that, but if someone wanted us to stop printing, we’d be prepared to stand our ground. On a national scale, if all the news outlets were to go silent regarding our government or nationwide events, there would be chaos. The same principle applies here. If we don’t print, students will remain uninformed. We must do our job.

That’s why we invite you to engage with us, drop us tips or leads and follow us to stay in the know of what’s going on around campus. Without your support and readership, we can’t hold people accountable or inform you of what’s going on. Whistleblowing is ineffective if no one hears the alarm. Only with student involvement can we truly impact the actions of university leaders and decision makers.

From our news section that brings the breaking news straight to your phones, to our arts and living section that dedicates itself to diving into the rich culture and individuality of our university, to our sports section that sits courtside and interviews our top athletes and to our opinions section that provides commentary on national trends and events, we ask that you stand with us in supporting our right to have a free student press.