It’s hard to know what’s going on behind the scenes with Lindenwood University’s decision to shut down the print edition of its magazine. Student publications are certainly not immune to the ongoing struggle for print media to stay financially viable in a digital universe.
But this struggle is not new, and too often we have seen college administrators and other leaders hide the stifling of student voices behind the veil of “budget cuts.” The best classroom project cannot compare with the practical experience from producing student media, and by all appearances, the work done by the Lindenwood Legacy has been exemplary.
Learning a new form of media production does not require eliminating another form; a diverse education leads to journalists better prepared for an ever-changing industry.
Students cannot learn responsible journalism if their publications are closed down for a few ruffled feathers. At best they will only learn to write safe marketing campaigns for their institutions, and that is not the kind of journalism we need today.
The St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists stands for a free and unfettered student press and condemns any attempt to silence student media. We implore that all those making decisions regarding the future of student publications consider seriously their responsibility to students and the First Amendment.
Attributed to Elizabeth Donald, president of the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists