November 4, 2008 · Updated 11:34 AM
The staff of Cat Tales, Mount Si High School’s student-run newspaper, is facing an immense obstacle in the way they present their publication. The high school administration is considering implementing a system of prior review, meaning it will have the power to oversee the newspaper and possibly make changes before the paper goes to press.
As a former editor of the paper, I was disheartened to hear this news. The underlying issue in this case is trust.
First off, students and staff at MSHS deserve a news publication that is free from any form of outside authority. How can readers trust a paper that can be altered before it reaches the press? Cat Tales must serve its duty as a watchdog news source. For example, if reporters are working on a story concerning the administration, will it be printed if it sheds a negative light on them? I don’t think so. A newspaper performs the task of keeping the administration’s actions transparent to the public. Prior review will eliminate this.
Second, the administration must trust the Cat Tales staff to report news responsibly. The staff is full of intelligent students, ready to complete their job to the highest standard. Year after year, these students have proven they are qualified journalists by winning awards at state and national competitions.
Cat Tales has a 60-year tradition of being a voice for the student body. Prior review is a form of censorship that impedes truthtelling and undermines the Cat Tales’ mission. The voice of the students will be silenced under this move by the administration. We need to trust the students of Cat Tales to report the news, not the administration to control it.