Please Let Us Know If You’ll Be Producing News This Weekend…

August 26- Over the weekend, Northern Light student newspaper staffers at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) were locked out of their newsroom.



The cause was not a censorious administration or an angry reader stunt. It was due to a university policy, one that limits access to the school’s student union (where the newsroom is headquartered) once it is shut down, unless 24 hours notice is given.


As a Northern Light editorial explained, “This past weekend, The Northern Light slipped up and did not give notice until late on Friday and thus the permission for staff to access the office over the weekend was originally denied. . . . While we understand and take full responcibility [sic] for our mistake, it makes us wonder what would happen if things weren’t running as smoothly between TNL and the UAA administration.”


My opinion: Either the policy, or the newsroom’s location, should be changed–whatever will allow the staffers to have access to their outlets’ base of operations at any and all times. I understand extra costs and security concerns, but those should be secondary to the primary purpose for which the newsroom was provided for students in the first place: to produce news. News is now a 24-hour business. A newsroom is no good to students if they don’t have access to use it when they need it. And lessons on freedom of the press ring hollow when news can only be produced with 24 hours advance notice.

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