Officials should respect the press

Staff Editorial

The press is an arm of democracy, and in order for it to do its job and inform the public, elected officials need to speak to and have respect for journalists. This is also true for those working in student media.

Elected officials (presidents, congress people and even local leaders like mayors, board members and other administrators) have a duty to speak with the journalists responsible for reporting on local, state and national governments. If they don’t, the public is left in the dark and democracy inevitably fails.

In order for there to be successful communication between an elected official and a journalist, there also needs to be some mutual respect.

Journalists understand that if they are to get the information they need from the official they interview, they must be respectful. Any professional understands the importance of respect.

It’s always a two-way street, though. If officials don’t have respect for journalists, they will be difficult to interview.

When it comes to student media, those involved are reporting and learning.

While making the interview process for people getting educations in journalism a difficult or impossible one at times is a valuable lesson for reporters, it also impedes on that necessary branch of democracy: the press.

The bottom line is: In order for there to be successful reporting in any news service, be it a nationally renowned newspaper, a local broadcast or a student radio station, elected officials must be willing to speak to the reporters working for those platforms.

Journalists and elected officials have their separate duties. Elected officials are voted on by the people to make administrative and executive actions. Journalists report on those actions.

If there is no respect, that important arm of democracy dies. If there is no communication, that arm of democracy dies.

The sooner everyone learns and internalizes that, the better.

The Editorial Staff can be reached at 581-2812 or @[email protected]