Our view | Information is power

Published by The Rocket, Date: April 15, 2024

Our View is a staff editorial produced collaboratively by the entire Rocket Staff. Any views expressed in the editorial are the opinions of the entire staff. 

To review our editorial policy, which includes our blotter policy, click here.

Information has power. As gatekeepers of information, we have a job to keep readers informed. From a big picture perspective, we understand the reputation that media has in the communities we serve.

The Rocket is a completely independent, student-run publication. We have a duty as the only written news source in Slippery Rock to inform the public of what is happening within the community, both on and off campus.

Being a university publication, we understand that some may not see us as “real” journalists, but as an organization with over 100 prestigious awards and counting, we would argue otherwise. Attending classes and being a student does not make us any less of a journalist than those who work for CNN or Fox.

We operate on our own guidelines, policies and morals within our office, but we lead every decision following the Society for Collegiate Journalists’ (SCJ) code of ethics.

The main themes that guide us are to seek the truth, report it, minimize harm and act independently while remaining accountable and transparent. Our newsroom holds these values very near to our hearts, and we keep them in mind with every story we write.

We are not here to cause harm. We are not here to disturb the peace. We simply exist to inform the public, as all media is here to do. For some, digging up and finding the truth will feel like disturbing the peace. As journalists, we simply follow the facts to whatever that truth may be. 

As gatekeepers of information, it is our duty to verify facts and check our sources to ensure the information we report to you is factual and informed. This is when information leaves the metaphorical gate of The Rocket office. 

The Rocket is not too prideful to admit that mistakes have been made in the past, but we continue to improve ourselves and strive to offer our community up-to-date news.

In recent years, the media has been under scrutiny having faced accusations of misinformation and being labeled as “fake news.” How did we get to a place where we label something as false just because it does not align with what we believe or want? There is a very real difference between “fake news” and a mistake being made. 

It is not our job to make anyone comfortable. According to the SCJ code of ethics, we must “recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.”

It is crucial for there to be open communication and transparency for a democracy to function. 

Institutions that partake in the act of stonewalling, or the act of refusing to interact with the press, contribute to the dysfunction in our entire system.

When investigating a story, our intention is not to insult. We are simply doing our job. Without the ability to factually inform, citizens will not be educated on what is happening in the world.

Democracy cannot function when the press is being put in a bind. We cannot report at all if we cannot even get in the room. 

We have a journalistic duty to our audience. We will not be ignored and we will not silently accept censorship in any form. 

With information comes power, and with reporting comes responsibility.


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