Staff Editorial: the importance of Student Press Freedom Day

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The Navigator Staff

The third annual Student Press Freedom Day was on Feb. 26. Student Press Freedom Day was first started in 2019 by The Student Press Law Center with the goal to raise awareness of the vital work and impact of student journalists as they report on their schools and communities, highlight the challenges student journalists face as they are confronted with censorship and prior review policies, and showcase the contribution of journalism education to engaged civic life.

As student journalists, The Navigator staff commonly faces barriers and discreditization for our work because we’re college students and not “real” journalists. It’s common for instructors, coaches, staff and other students to ignore us when we reach out to them involving articles, and this isn’t just a problem at Lake Land College. Other community colleges and universities also face challenges when trying to reach out and talk to people in order to inform the public on recent news or stories related to campus. Granted, there are plenty of amazing people at Lake Land who are more than happy to talk to us, and we greatly appreciate them for that.

Each year the Student Press Freedom Day has a theme to further spread stories from student journalists and congratulate student journalists on what they’ve achieved in the last year. For 2021, the theme was Journalism Against the Odds. This theme was chosen to acknowledge “the phenomenal news coverage student journalists produced despite being faced with incredible challenges of a year consumed by not only a global pandemic, but widespread racial justice protests, a major election and a rise in targeting and censorship of journalists.” 

The Student Press Freedom organization also highlighted four important issues affecting journalists everywhere including the targeting and censorship of journalists, journalism in the time of COVID-19, reckoning with racial injustice and elevating civic engagement.

The Navigator staff will always report important news despite possible backlash or any barriers preventing us from reporting the news.

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