We are Journalists, Not Publicists

After The Famuan was criticized so severely in the Fall 2011 semester for its coverage of the Robert Champion case, it was rumored that the Student Government Association had stated it would like to cut funds for the newspaper that is representative of the student body at Florida A&M University.

Anyone who was at the “mandatory” anti-hazing forum that was held by SGA and administrators on Dec. 6 saw the uproar and finger pointing at the media that seemed to be an integral part of that assembly.

Questions from the audience were submitted and read aloud, and of the six selected, three were directly aimed at the media, which in actuality was simply doing its job by reporting the facts and observing opinions and reactions; a job that is not easy during times when turmoil and tensions are high.

It was troubling to see Director of Student Activities Marvin Green aiming his frustration and support for the students at The Famuan, a publication that is staffed entirely by FAMU students.

At the first meeting of the semester, student senators received a rattling bit of news from Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dean Henry Kirby.

Kirby outlined that no one has the power to curtail the freedom of speech and of the press, and there would be no actions taken thereof against The Famuan, despite best efforts and any attempt to stifle the paper would be a clear violation of the First Amendment.

Kirby stated one of the cornerstones of the United States: “Everyone in here has the right to the freedom of speech, particularly a newspaper. Let’s not forget that without newspapers, this country would be in chaos. That’s part of democracy.”

It was hard to hear about Twitter and Facebook posts like “$0.00 for The Famuan” last December, and it is hard to receive cold stares and smirks when someone learns you work for The Famuan, but we’ll all get over that.

In the words of former Editor-in-Chief Clarece Polke, “It’s not about the money, it’s about the story.”

To that effect, our job is to report the facts in an efficient and timely manner, not to act as an in-house PR team for the university or for FAMU’s IMAGE. For all the people intially against The Famuan, not one of them has come into the office to voice their concerns.

That is they key motive of this editorial. The pages of The Famuan are open to anyone with the desire to report on any newsworthy subject, and I challenge anyone who feels that they have what it takes be a journalist to come on by. But until that time, do your job, not ours.