Editorial Board: Student media fee only way to guarantee true ethical authority

By The Daily Evergreen Editorial Board

Already at more than 30 percent of the Election Board’s goal, strong voter turnout is a sign that students at WSU care about university issues.

When this edition went to press, ASWSU Election Board Chair Zachary Anders said voter turnout had topped 16.5 percent. “It looks as if we’re on path for a historic turnout with an unprecedented first 24 hours,” Anders said.

The Office of Student Media is receiving both close attention and scrutiny during this election, which could boast the highest turnout in WSU’s history.

This is why it’s more important than ever to insist that consistent, independent funding is the only way to have consistent, independent journalism on behalf of the WSU community.

The Services & Activities (S&A) fee process has repeatedly questioned our content while funding is on the table, making it clear why a $4 student fee would benefit the autonomy of our organization.

Independent journalism like The Daily Evergreen provides is essential for the health and accountability of WSU as a community. Much like the S&A process, ASWSU has recently demonstrated a willingness to infringe upon that independence.

It is extremely important for voters to educate themselves about the significance of autonomous news coverage. Without it, there are very few — if any — localized news sources which represent the interest of WSU students. There are no other autonomous news sources on campus. There are no news sources that are not somehow loyal to the university over its students.

During this election, The Daily Evergreen hopes students inform themselves about each item on the ballot. Making an effort to be an informed voter means reading more than one article or opinion — it means gathering information from a variety of sources and discerning their values as voices of authority.

This is essentially what the Evergreen does every day.

As defenders of transparency, there are devastating implications for the Evergreen if the Student Media fee fails. Few local organizations hold themselves to the same ethical and legal standards of openness as the Evergreen.

It also bears the honorable burden of holding others accountable for their actions, especially when those actions go against the law or attempt to deceive WSU students.

This is a difficult task, and a duty that is not taken lightly. For many stories, hours of fact-checking and interviewing take place before the final version lands on the racks each morning.

The Daily Evergreen upholds the same professional and ethical principles as other newspapers. It has the benefit of being able to delve into difficult issues or topics that concern students without having to worry about losing financial support based on coverage.

Everything Student Media provides for WSU as a whole is unique: free advertising for student groups, products to archive student experiences and comprehensive coverage of campus issues are all at risk if secure funding is not acquired.

A yes vote for Student Media is a resounding yes for the values of a certain legendary WSU alumnus, Edward R. Murrow, who once said “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful. It is as simple as that.”

Disclaimer: Zachary Anders provided factual election information but did not contribute to or endorse this piece.