Aiming for growth in community

The Falcon is known as Seattle Pacific University’s independent student-run newspaper, but what does that really mean?

What does it mean to be independent from something?

It’s a question I have asked myself multiple times. It’s a question I think about today, as we prepare to put together the first Falcon issue of the school year.

In its basic form this means that the reporting process of The Falcon is not subjected to SPU censorship. In other words, we are granted the freedom of press by SPU, a right not guaranteed to all newspapers within private universities.

Liberty University, for example, has been featured in several publications, including The New York Times and World Magazine, due to censorship incidents of Liberty Champion Newspaper by Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr. He has been reported to review articles before publication, occasionally blocking some from being published if they do not fit his ideals.

Our university and President Dr. Dan Martin take no such action and I do not, nor do any other editors, take that lightly.

To pick and choose what articles are published based on personal bias is to decide what voices should be heard. Doing so gives more value to some experiences and takes away from others.

Being independent allows The Falcon to be a place of opportunity. We can be honest and unbiased in our storytelling, both in the bad and the good, without fear of institutional retribution.

There have been individuals who believe The Falcon’s funding should be stripped or affected due to the stories published.

Some see us as too liberal or as “a joke,” to quote SPU Confessions. Others may view us as too independent from SPU administration and student government, saying that we choose to be independent to disassociate ourselves from the SPU community.

The Falcon is not simply independent from something, we are also independent for something.

As journalists, we have a duty to inform the public. We have a responsibility to be honest in our portrayal the people we report on. In the current political climate, the field of journalism has come under attack. Under public criticism, it is crucial that we remain true to those ideals.

We do not claim independence to be selfish or be cruel, and much less to bring a bad reputation to our school. We claim independence to be able to tell all stories, to give our campus a rounded view made up of multiple perspectives.

Not everyone agrees in this world. Not everyone will look, feel or act the same, and that is okay.

We are independent so we can paint an honest picture of our community, filled with diversity and variance.

We celebrate our communities successes, but we also highlight our downfalls. We do so in order to enable our community to reflect and learn.

Growth will never be found in a place of conformity and negligence. It can only be fostered by admitting our mistakes, seeking discussion and critical feedback, and embracing vulnerability.

I appreciate our school and our community enough to push for that standard. For this school year, I choose to always keep in mind the difference between “independent from” and “independent for.”

As this year’s editor-in-chief, I promise to go beyond being independent from SPU. We at

The Falcon will claim a deeper meaning in the term “independent.”
We are independent for the journalistic field, for the sake of honesty and transparency, for the stories we tell and for our community.

 

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