The ongoing death of journalism concerns me.
An arrest warrant was issued against journalist Amy Goodman on September 8 for her coverage of police violence against protestors in North Dakota. Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline have finally made national news in the past months, thanks to journalists like Goodman, who have disrupted the mainstream media’s silence on the issue. Goodman is the Executive Producer of Democracy Now!, a news source that is committed to covering important issues in critical ways and creating a truly free press in an age of corporate news.
But the cost of doing journalism that challenges power concerns me.
Killing of journalists in Chhatisgarh for critical rural reporting concerns me, as does the imprisonment of Aljazeera staff in Egypt, the silencing and murders of journalists in Ukraine, the perpetual news blackout on issues of poor people and the over-production of clickbait, it all concerns me. Silence where speech would count, and when speech is penalized, concerns me.
Writing from a newsroom that is relatively insulated from many of these larger repressive forces, I am concerned about how we at the Voice can use our speech to put an end to silences, instead of speaking just to hear our own voices, to entertain each other, to enjoy how good our name looks in print and how good our position titles look in our resume. We aspire to be more than the student club we are designated to be. We see ourselves as journalists, student journalists, but journalists no less, and we align ourselves with the dying business of critical print journalism. And even as we do not contend with direct assaults, and do not write stories that are a matter of life and death, we hope to concern ourselves, and you, dear reader, with stories that are written with a regard for the power of the printed word. We hope, as we put together the Voice, to keep in mind the world in which we live and in which our campus sits, and to keep in mind the people who need us to break silences, both on campus and in the community.
In the pages ahead of you is the first issue of the Voice of the year, containing news, art, critique, photography, fiction, research, interviews – assembled with seriousness, love, and a great deal of (what I thought was) fresh and contagious energy. I hope that the Voice reflects some of the concerns I have been thinking about; I hope some of these concern you too; and I hope to hear from you about the experience of sharing concerns with us through this newspaper. It’s been an honor to produce this issue; it feels like one small victory in our own small fight for journalism’s future.