WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Independence of Student Reporters

May 6, 2014

The Shop Talk panelists discuss how much oversight should be given to student newspapers and newscasts.

As reported by Kristen Hare on the Poynter website, the student government organization at Bowling Green State University talked about seeking oversight of the student newspaper, The BG News. Some students said the idea was to ensure all the facts in stories are correct.

The student government group ultimately tabled the matter, and the university itself said it would not take any action that interferes with the paper’s independence.

The Shop Talk panelists are not in favor of giving anyone other than the faculty advisor any oversight of student publications or newscasts.  Panelist Lisa Kernek called it “prior restraint” to have the government try to control what the press is publishing.

Panelist Jasmine Crighton said if a group asked to review her students’ TV news stories before they aired, her response would be short: “No. But have a nice day and please watch us later.”

Crighton also said faculty advisors are in place to ensure students are aware of their duties as journalists and to provide student reporters with help and guidance.

Panelist Rich Egger said an outside group’s oversight to ensure accuracy could quickly turn into an attempt to spin the news, which is also problematic.