After President Donald Trump’s statement naming journalists “the enemy of the people” July 31, the Boston Globe spurred a movement Aug. 15 to showcase that the enemy is not the journalists. This movement encouraged publications nationwide to write staff editorials highlighting the significance of free press.
In addition to the Globe’s acknowledgment of the freedom of the press, every year on Sept. 17 the First Amendment rights are celebrated by journalists on Constitution Day.
In light of the Globe’s wake-up call to journalists nationwide and the observance of Constitution Day, the Echo Editorial Board believes it is valuable to take part in this campaign advocating for the free press.
The Editorial Board feels free press is a privilege and should be utilized for good. It is our responsibility as journalists to provide a reliable source of clarification to the consumers of the media, and an outlet for others to voice their opinions. Without free press, the media can be easily manipulated and not a single person would be held accountable for their actions.
According to USA Today, teens across the political spectrum do not trust the media, and President Trump’s accusations against journalists are not helping. The Board acknowledges media sources are not always correct, or may have biases, however it encourages teens not to be discouraged by this.
Students should take the time to fact check their sources and research multiple sides to an issue to ensure they are educating themselves with factual information. It is important for students not just to be a consumer of the media. They should be a thorough one, and should not be afraid to ask for the source of pieces of news.
In addition, these statements should not prevent credible sources from stopping their publications. American journalists are very fortunate to have the freedom of the press, however this is not a universal freedom. According to Al Jazeera, over 80 journalists were killed in 2017 while merely practicing their jobs, so it should be our responsibility to utilize this freedom to its fullest extent.
The Editorial Board feels President Trump’s attack on journalists should only motivate journalists to continue producing content. If journalists keep striving to present the truth, they will eventually earn the public’s respect.
President Trump’s beliefs give the Echo more reason to show the community of St. Louis Park that we are a valuable news source and are far from President Trump’s definition of a journalist. The Editorial Board wants the community to be aware of its commitment to covering the truth.
As the Echo celebrates Constitution Day, the Editorial Board implores students to become well-versed in their First Amendment rights and to employ them or share them with others. Students should not only be consumers of the media, but should also educate themselves about the rights that allow the media to exist.