Hawaii Pacific Student Newspaper a Beacon for Censorship?

Kalamalama means bright light, a beacon of light in the darkness, and the torch. It is also the name of the student newspaper at Hawaii Pacific University that is currently under review amid criticisms that it is not “as student run as it should be.”

As a Honolulu Advertiser report quoted an HPU student saying: “Two journalism students I’ve talked to say that they’ve been censored (in Kalamalama articles), but are afraid to use their names because they think they might lose their scholarships. I just don’t think it’s fair to call it a student newspaper. If your student editors aren’t free to allow what goes in, if the vice president decides what is published, then it should be called the university paper of HPU, because calling it a student paper is disingenuous to our student journalists.”

A petition calling for more student editorial control is being circulated and information is being gathered for a full report, one that at least publicly is being welcomed by administrators.   The defenders of the ‘bright light’ editorial guidelines argue that student content left unpublished is not a victim of censorship but poor quality. The paper’s faculty adviser: “Our policy is that this is a student newspaper.  If a student has written something, we’ll do our best to make sure it’s published. What we require first is that you do a thorough job.

Comments
2 Responses to “Hawaii Pacific Student Newspaper a Beacon for Censorship?”
  1. Russ Leonard-Whitman says:

    News stories that are of poor quality should not be published. The question left unanswered in this post is: Who decides when an article is not good enough? If student editors are making those decisions independently, then I don’t see a problem, but if administrators are making or even influencing the decisions, that’s a problem. Can College Media Matters find the answer? I would like to know.

    Russ Leonard-Whitman
    Chair of Journalism
    Vincennes University

  2. Tim Lussier says:

    Q1: Who decides when an article is not good enough?

    TL: HPU has ‘student editors’ and an HPU advisor (staff). The HPU advisor does not not allow negative articles about HPU to go in.

    Q2: “If student editors are making those decisions independently, then I don’t see a problem, but if administrators are making or even influencing the decisions, that’s a problem. ”

    TL: HPU has ‘student editors’ but the advisor doesn’t allow negative stories to go in. Furthurmore the paper has an ‘Editorial Board’ thats comprised of staff … Vice President, Dean of Students and others. They don’t allow negative stories to go in.