Student Press Freedom Day: Why February 26th Celebrates the 1st Amendment

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February 26th commemorates Student Press Freedom Day, a day designated to celebrate the necessary and hard work student journalists dedicate to creating an informed campus.

Student Press Freedom Day was launched by The Student Press Law Center in 2019. The Student Press Law Center established this day with three goals: to raise awareness of the vital work and impact of student journalists as they report on their schools and communities, highlight the challenges student journalists face as they are confronted with censorship and prior review policies, and showcase the contribution of journalism education to engaged civic life.

Each year The Student Press Law Center designates a theme for Student Press Freedom Day. This year’s theme is “Journalism Against the Odds”. This theme acknowledges the many obstacles student journalists have had to face during this past year–a global pandemic, widespread social justice issues, a tumultuous presidential election, and a rise in media demonization and censorship.

Associate Professor of Multimedia Communications and Director of Simpson Student Media Mark Siebert recognizes the importance of student journalists and campus newspapers.

“It’s important to celebrate the role of student journalists who cover their campuses and also to call attention to the many times they are hindered or stopped by school officials from doing that,” Siebert said. “We at Simpson have been lucky to have an administration that supports press freedom even when they don’t agree with what’s reported. But there are plenty of instances where officials have sued student journalists, refused to release information until they lost in court or simply censored publications.”

Sports Editor Jake Brend looks forward to celebrating Student Press Freedom Day; student press freedom is an essential aspect of his jobs as an editor and reporter for Simpson’s student-run newspaper, The Simpsonian.

“Student press freedom day is important to me because as an aspiring journalist,” Brend said. “I’m thankful for the freedom to be able to publish anything within our journalistic freedom to the public.”

You can learn more about Student Press Freedom Day and The Student Press Law Center at https://studentpressfreedom.org/about/

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