EDITORIAL: From student journalists: We are not the enemy of the people
The Daily Wildcat has served the University of Arizona and surrounding community since 1899. For nearly 120 years, we have been the voice for UA students and provided a real-world learning environment for student journalists.
With its rich history and tradition of journalistic excellence, the Daily Wildcat gives many of us the opportunity to practice our passion and prepare us for a long career of reporting the truth for the betterment of society.
As student journalists, we pursue this field because we understand the importance of truth and truly believe that journalism has the power to change the world.
Despite the low pay, ever-shrinking size of newsrooms and decrease in nationwide public trust, we still strive to become accountable, accurate and fair reporters.
We’re entering this field at an interesting time and preparing to succeed in an industry that is currently surrounded by a culture of distrust.
For the past several years, new forms of “fake news” have surfaced, and societal understanding of media literacy seems to have diminished.
However, the term “fake news” is now being used interchangeably as a denial of reality.
Starting during his candidacy and accelerating with the fluctuations of negative news surrounding his presidency, Donald Trump has been a ferocious critic of what he and his cohort call the “mainstream media.”
In February 2017, President Trump took his assault on the media a step further when he called the press the “enemy of the people.”
For much of his presidency thus far, he has blasted reliable news sources such as The New York Times, calling it fake news any time the reporting reveals his ignorance and contradictions.
Not only is this a blatant attack on our freedom of the press, but a true disregard for a citizen’s right to know. You have the right to be protected from those in power, and we, as America’s watchdog, are dedicated to fulfilling that obligation.
Perhaps even more importantly, Trump’s words, emanating from the bully pulpit of the most powerful office on earth, cast a chilling pall on journalists internationally — especially those operating in countries with press freedoms less stringent and consequences far higher than here.
In response to the president’s latest salvos, last week about 350 newspapers throughout the country took a stand against President Trump’s attack on the press, publishing editorials and urging their audiences to understand and appreciate the value of a free press.
As aspiring professional journalists, we stand by these publications and promise to uphold our core journalistic values, even as they are being threatened.
We are ready for the fight. Some of us will enter the work force next year, some in three years, but here at the Daily Wildcat we will continue to prepare ourselves to become the best journalists we can be.
We will work, along with journalists throughout the country, to dismantle the culture of distrust, take down government corruption and prove our worth.
From all of us at the Daily Wildcat, an independent, student-run newspaper at the University of Arizona: We are not the enemy of the people.
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