The Recorder

Editors Column: Stop Obstructing Our Job

Sarah Willson, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

There may be a fox in the henhouse.

Central Connecticut is in the process of “restructuring” the Media Center with the intended goals of “[improving] both classroom and academic technology support [and] aligning the Center’s functions with the University’s priorities,” according to Vice President for Institutional Advancement Christopher Galligan.

While this all sounds great, and will hopefully benefit university students and Media Center Staff, there is one small problem: the center is reporting to CCSU’s director of Public Relations. As a student journalist, I fear this may only muzzle myself and my fellow reporters more than we already are.

Throughout my five semesters on The Recorder, I have come to understand that some of the university may deem myself and the paper’s staff as unreliable and untruthful. I have witnessed myself and others be barricaded by the people who are allegedly supposed to support us the most.

I have been watched, I have been criticized – which has been deserving at times – and I have been stonewalled by university officials. I fear with the Media Center now under the watch of the director of Public Relations, this may only get worse.

Since the beginning of last semester, The Recorder has had the director of Public Relations sit in on several interviews between reporters and university officials. The same has taken place with other local newspapers, such as The Hartford Courant and The New Britain Herald.

Though in the journalism world it is often considered odd or even unethical for an outside source to sit in on a private interview, myself and others have let it slide. As The Recorder said in an editorial back in November of last year, “though we are not intimidated by the extra ears in the room, it adds an air of entitlement from the institution.”

The job of a director of Public Relations is to ensure a positive public image for the university. With that intended goal in mind, it’s not difficult to understand why these two parties often don’t see eye-to-eye. However, as we saw in April of last year, terrible things can happen, especially on a college campus. We as reporters have an obligation to report on the good, the bad and the ugly. I don’t want that to have to stop.

Though we have been tolerant in the past, there comes a point where enough is enough. Every time I go to check out the equipment I need to do my job, I do not want to have to receive approval from an official who has been less than cooperative in the past. I fear that if my story is not likable or paints a negative image of the university, I’ll be restrained.

Though it’s possible this may be far from the truth, I believe I have every right to believe this is something that could very well happen. Just the other day, I went into the campus bookstore to film b-roll for one of my journalism classes. I was immediately told to turn off the camera because it wasn’t clear how I was going to use the film. All I was told was that “[the university doesn’t] want to look bad.”

I understand needing to protect the university’s image. However, if what’s being reported is the truth, there’s no reason for it to be censored.

I believe I speak for myself, The Recorder and all journalism students that we will always do our best to uphold and protect the truth no matter how bad it may make the university look. Just please don’t stop us from doing our job.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

The Student News Site of Central Connecticut State University
Editors Column: Stop Obstructing Our Job