The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
No. 13 A&M upsets No. 5 Virginia in dominant fashion, 4-1
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Propaganda

 
 

Whether it is a black bar stretching across an offensive image or a piercing wail that overwrites an obscenity, censorship is everywhere in society. Sometimes, however, this filtering extends beyond the socially unacceptable and into the ideological. This is especially prevalent in student newspapers.
Student newspapers are intended to train students who seek careers in writing and/or journalism. However, the educational purposes of a student-run newspaper are secondary to the main purpose of such publications, which is to provide the student body with an information outlet filled with unbiased, uncensored reporting. Unfortunately, in recent times, college newspapers have begun to come under fire, and in some cases have been forced to report only what the school administration approves.
On April 6 of this year, North Central University officials fired two editors in charge of the The Northern Light student newspaper because they refused to allow university administrators to proofread the paper before publication in an attempt to eliminate bias. The demand for administrative oversight came after several articles questioning the school’s moral and religious affiliation were published. Unfortunately, since NCU is a private institution that owns its student newspaper, this sort of censorship is completely legal.
While the legality of the issue may not be in question, the morality certainly is. Two of the articles were opinion and editorial columns, which are traditionally intended to showcase varying ideologies. By demanding censorship of these articles, NCU administration introduced partiality toward its own philosophy rather than eliminating bias as it claimed.
A similar situation occurred at the University of Alabama on May 29 when the school’s student government association passed a resolution to give itself the power to edit the student newspaper. The student government claimed that the resolution was meant to remove a liberal bias from the paper. If the student senators of the university wish to edit the paper, then they should apply to be editors, not censor the publication.
Federal law protects professional newspapers, but in college, the protection is far more flexible. This is seen in legal cases like Hosty v. Carter, 2005, in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it is acceptable for university administrations to demand oversight of student newspapers.
If this logic applied to professional journalism, the mayor of every city would be able to edit the local newspaper. Though the paper is associated with the city, it is still guaranteed the freedom to operate independently of any government influence by the First Amendment. City officials do not censor newspapers associated with cities, so it follows that university officials should not censor newspapers associated with universities.
Publications that are created by students are no different than those created by professional journalists. Though the staff may be younger, that does not mean they should be treated as children who require constant supervision. This administrative attitude restricts the training of future journalists by limiting their exercise of the First Amendment guarantee of free press.
The purpose of a newspaper is to inform the reader and raise questions for discussion. When administrators seek to censor newspapers, they introduce a bias for their own opinions and policies. There is a term that describes this type of publication and it is not “journalism;” it is “propaganda.”

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