Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Open Letter to Montclair State's Student Paper

Dear student journalists:

It is a terrible situation that the funds used to publish your newspaper have been frozen. It is unfair and done in complete disregard for our beloved First Amendment. The New York Times ponders if you'll be able to put out this week's paper; I say you will be. Here's how.

Students, you are a part of a generation that largely embraces technology, and though this is a far different crisis from that which happened at Virginia Tech, you can learn from their actions. When the going gets tough, and the printing presses aren't cooperating, go to the Internet. Your website, which is likely funded by the same source, is still live, and you have shown that you can still publish there. Continue to update it with images, and tell everyone who cares to listen.

Spread the word.

Tell your fellow students and Poynter Romenesko readers and New York Times readers that you have found an alternative source to continue your journalism, and it is on the Web. And if it so happens that your website access is pulled or denied, start a blog -- I suggest Montclarion.blogspot.com. In this age of citizen journalism, your words cannot be stifled -- just relocated.

Run with it -- post to your heart's content. Show everyone what you post, and repost the content that started this disagreement between you and your university's president, Ron Chicken, so that outsiders can understand the full extent of the conflict. Do not strike below the belt; do not play to "chicken" jokes. Keep your chins up and continue your journalism. And when the dust clears and the fight is over, you'll have been proud that you have upheld all of the values that fueled your desire to write for the student newspaper in the first place.

Good luck and Godspeed,
The Editorialiste.

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