Dec 11, 2018

@issue: Are student-run newspapers biased? What is their role on campus?

Read Neil O’Brien’s response to this article here

Journalism’s main purpose is to inform society of vital information that will enable people to actively participate in a democratic government. A democracy heavily depends on the information given by journalists, which has given the media the responsibility to overlook our system of government and our society.

As journalists, it is our duty to provide significant, objective and independent information to our audience which I continuously strive to do. Controversial issues such as immigration tend to cause conflict among individuals.

It is my responsibility, however, to inform all students of issues that may be controversial, but that are affecting students. I treat all individuals who grant me an interview with respect, attentiveness and honesty.

I have continuously approached and delivered all news from an objective, accurate and truthful way, and I have received awards for it, such as the Society of Professional Journalists’ Mark of Excellence Award. When mistakes are made, they are usually addressed by the editor-in-chief in a timely manner.

The interview that Mr. O’Brien granted me was recorded as a 45 minutes interview because of the great amount of information and speculations that O’Brien had collected regarding one individual, Pedro Ramirez. The news editor and I explained it multiple times to O’Brien why his allegations could not be independently reported.

It is unethical for a newspaper outlet to print unfounded allegations without first contacting Ramirez for a response. Because of the short notice, Ramirez could not be reached. This was also explained to O’Brien multiple times.

The sit-in I was present at was organized by United4Ed, which promotes education accessibility. The event was organized in the hope that the demonstration, along with many others that day around that state, would make education economically accessible to present and future students. I have always believed, as I am sure all Americans do, that education should be accessible to all who wish to attain it. The recent fee increases, decrease in accepted students and courses offered have jeopardized the quality education that Fresno State has constantly provided. Historically, civil engagements have been essential to the accessibility of many rights we all enjoy today. It is our duty as Americans to be civically involved to improve our country, and I strongly believe affordable education is the basis of democracy.

To be honest, I am not surprised that O’Brien has found me as his next target. He has targeted several other students, professors, Fresno State administrators and community members and later published selected footage for his website. He has also informed some of these individuals that after he was “done” with Ramirez, he was going to go after me.

I have explained to O’Brien numerous times that I am not connected to the Brown Berets or any organization. Just like standing next to a Tea Party member, does not make me their member, standing next to a Brown Berets member does not make me one of their respective members. I have interviewed members of both groups and have treated them both equally with nothing but respect. My job description implies that my responsibility is to be objective and seek both sides of a story, which I strongly believe I have fulfilled.

I should also clarify that I do not have “tenure” at The Collegian nor have I ever had a permanent post. I was a news writer as a requirement for mass communication and journalism 105, a newspaper workshop course. Just to clarify Semana de la Raza is not Lation supremacy week and La Voz de Aztlan is not promoting hate, but rather an outlet for poets, artists and other Latinos to contribute opinions about the campus.

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@issue: Are student-run newspapers biased? What is their role on campus?