By Kit Watts
Published October 13, 1966
Inasmuch as the college paper was created by a student organization, the paper is responsible first of all to the students. They pay for it. They write it. They edit and publish it. But students, free moral agents as they are, in turn are responsible to a framework of authority—the college administration. What is written about in the newspaper, after all, revolves mostly around a life structured, guided, and outlined by this administration.
Therefore, the collegiate press must reflect both students and administrators. The paper may disclose opinions, present news, examine activities, criticize or applaud actions, reveal or suppress facts. But the key to the responsibility of the collegiate press lies in why and how. Because the faculty is responsible to students, and students to faculty, the college newspaper must be a two-way road, not a raceway or a dead-end street.
Student editors have no choice but to straightforwardly recognize how combustible is the material they handle. Their fair coverage, mature concerns for all college personnel, and balancing what the reading public wants to know and what the reading public should know will generate a climate of sensible and reasonable exchange. Recklessness with the same material will explode in their hands, causing nothing but misunderstanding.
Open-mindedness, honesty, and careful workmanship are earmarks of a responsible collegiate press. For even beyond the immediate responsibility of student to student, students to faculty, and visa-versa, is the total projected image a college establishes with a community of onlookers, a board of directors, a group of parents, a constituency of financial supporters, and a nostalgic company of alumni.