Stop telling our reporters what they can report

Earlier last month Kirby Delauter, a councilman in Fredrick County, Maryland, threatened to sue the local newspaper, the Fredrick News-Post, if it published his name without his permission.

Since Delauter is a public official, The News-Post responded to the councilman’s threats by publishing a tongue-in-cheek editorial titled, “Kirby Deluater, Kirby Delauter, Kirby Delauter,” which used the councilman’s full name 25 times.

The First Amendment protects journalists and our right to publicize information that is of public interest. We fight to uphold our press freedom.

Anything said in a public meeting is fair game to a reporter. Only in rare circumstances do public officials reserve the authority to restrict what reporters are allowed to report on.

However, this might be a difficult concept for some on campus to understand. During Tuesday’s CAB meeting, Conferencing Coordinator Shellie Johns told our reporter that they couldn’t publish information about a concert that is in the works. This was said after Johns had already told that information to the assembled CAB representatives.

Johns’ comments were made in a public meeting before representatives who have both voting rights and the authority to decide where a portion of the student activity funds go. Anything said during those meetings are a matter of both public interest and public record, and we are obligated to report on them.

The problem we keep encountering is that people on campus do not understand how media works. We enjoy the same protections and freedoms as any commercial newspaper. Therefore, we assert our independence; you do not get to decide what we do or do not publish.

If you would like to write for The Eagle, our doors are always open. Everyone has an equal opportunity to come and join our staff. We would happily welcome more reporters.

But if you feel you are entitled to make decisions regarding what we report on and what we publish, we invite you to study journalism and seek a position on The Eagle editorial board.

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