Due to the influx of comments questioning the Niles West News’ position on covering the arrest of senior Sam Breitberg and last week being Scholastic Journalism Week, the NWN editors would like to clarify the purpose of this student-run publication.
Although the NWN is not a professional site, we produce a publication that models real journalism practices. This is the reason why many of our stories reflect unique perspectives on clubs, students, and school-sponsored events.
It just so happens that we are fortunate enough to go to a school where violence does not often occur. It’s true that our biggest news for a while was a lunch strike. However, when something as serious as a bomb threat occurs, it is our job to report on it as well. It is a matter of school safety, and everyone has the right to know about it. Everyone who attends this school should be able to find out the facts of such a big event from our paper.
The First Amendment gives every American the freedom of speech and press. Some commenters may suggest that a story be pulled down because it “embarrasses” someone; the NWN believes that is it un-American to do so. Facts –including arrests — are public information (which anyone can obtain through a Freedom of Information Act request), and no one’s reputation is more valuable than that. If people think they can learn that information from another newspaper, well, that’s fine, but is it fair to restrict students from reporting on events that would never be ignored by other publications simply because they’re students?
Just how the Chicago Tribune would not refrain from publishing critical information in a story, the NWN will not either. The NWN is a legitimate publication, and until readers realize that the NWN is more than just a school-sponsored activity, they will have a hard time understanding our publishing decisions.
The NWN is not here to spread great tidings of success or happy-endings to the Niles West community. It is here to provide news and update the community on what is happening at Niles West, good or bad. We will not apologize for giving our readers access to the truth. We will not apologize for “embarrassing” anyone. The NWN is not a fluff paper, and we refuse to restrict publishing because it does not paint our school or students in the most positive light.