Editorial: Student journalists are real journalists and need freedom of the press, too

"With the freedom of the press, we do not have to face as many blockades.

Staff+writers+Valery+Barrera%2C+Valeria+Luquin+and+Maribella+Ambrosio+work+during+period+3+on+Jan.+29.+Student+media+staff%2C+who+produce+content+for+the+yearbook%2C+news+magazine%2C+website+and+social+media%2C+all+work+together+in+one+class+period.

Mahali Sanchez

Staff writers Valery Barrera, Valeria Luquin and Maribella Ambrosio work during period 3 on Jan. 29. Student media staff, who produce content for the yearbook, news magazine, website and social media, all work together in one class period.

As student journalists, our most valuable asset is our freedom of the press. It gives us the capability to do our jobs. It is not something that just lets us say anything we want. It is much more than that, it is a freedom of expression.

Today is Student Free Press Day and we want to reflect on why our rights are important. The Pearl Post magazine and website along with the Prestige Yearbook report on many serious topics. From the United Teachers Los Angeles strike last year to the walkouts against gun violence, our rights allowed us to cover it. Such freedoms were granted by the First Amendment, which gives the freedom of the press and speech. As California students, we are also protected under the California Education Code 48907, which allows us to publish and distribute work without prior review. Because of this responsibility, it is our duty to provide timely, proficient and accurate information. We know that informing the public is a top priority and an informed public is a necessity for a functioning democracy. 

Censorship, which is the act of suppressing or stopping the publishing of one’s work, is an obstacle that can greatly harm the production of our work. However, with the freedom of the press, we do not have to face as many blockades. When there is something important going on that needs to be shared, we are able to report on it and push our work forward. 

Recently, we reported on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals(DACA) walkout that occurred on Nov. 12. The Supreme Court heard arguments from the Trump administration over their decision to terminate DACA and 34 students walked out of classrooms in protest. Because of our freedom of the press, we were able to report and cover the off-campus protest without being punished for it. 

While we are student journalists, our practice is still real journalism and we do it every single day whether we are interviewing our peers or photographing school events. In today’s era of journalism, many credible sources are dismissed as fake news and pushed aside as lies by powerful people, which causes many to become untrustworthy of legitimate journalism. So much opposition to news brings difficulty to a publication in their ability to remain respected and credible. Journalism is important in today’s society because not only does it bring information to people and allows them to stay updated on current events but it keeps the public informed and aware of things that they need to know about their daily lives. 

As student-run publications, we strive to see change with our never-ending search for information and we exercise our freedom of the press to reach our goal. Because of this freedom, we have the ability to bring news to the public and rightfully inform others in an ever-changing society.