Freedom of the press: an essential part of democracy

Payton Antonio, Editor-in-Chief

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Welcome to another year of Na Pueo and to the new students, welcome to our school newspaper. My name is Payton Antonio, and I will be the editor-in-chief of the paper this year.

Na Pueo is a place where students have a voice to tell the stories that not everyone can tell. As journalists, we imagine ourselves as the storytellers, and we believe in freedom of the press.

Payton Antonio: Letter from the Editor In Chief

In August, The Boston Globe called for news organizations across the country to speak out for a free press. More than 300 news organizations answered the call by publishing their own editorial columns focused on a free press as an essential element of  democracy. With this column, Na Pueo is binding together with those news organizations in support of freedom of the press.

The media has come under serious attack during the Trump  administration. School media is also under attack at many schools around the nation.

Recently, four Vermont student journalists stood up to censorship in their school newspaper when they were told to take down a story they wrote about a school employee facing unprofessional conduct charges. Once they talked to legal experts, they were allowed to publish , according to a story published by the Associated Press.

“I learned to stand up for myself, what I believe in and our rights as a student press,” said one of the Vermont journalists, Halle Newman, in the article.

In Florida of 2018, a student journalist wrote a column criticizing the rap music industry for the role models it creates. Her school principal banned her from writing any more articles for the newspaper because of her racial insensitivity, despite the fact that she never mentioned race in her column, according to Nieman Reports.

The Na Pueo journalists and I have a commitment to the public’s right to know the truth. With our stories, we believe we can make a difference. But students are not the only ones who are confronting this issue. The advisers who are dedicated to journalism find themselves challenged with the choice of protecting their students or saving their job, according to Nieman Reports.

Our job as journalists will forever be to tell the stories that not everyone can share. As a nation filled with steadfast and strong-willed journalists, there is nothing we want more than to have freedom of the press.