Due to delays with the vendor contract, the implementation of the Billiken Readership Program was delayed this academic year, but resumed on Monday, Sept. 16th.
I use Twitter to stay up to date on current events and news. There, I said it. An unbiased, unopinionated and unmonitored social media platform gives me all the information I want and use in 280 characters. If I need more, the Twitter search handle has more details for me—a 20-year old caught somewhere between Millennial and Gen Z.
It didn’t always used to be this way. From a young age, I can remember opening the local newspaper of my small town and digesting the big stories and events of the local, regional and world stage. This continued through High School and into college; well, at least for my freshmen to sophomore years here at SLU. The Student Readership Program allowed students hard-copy access to three daily newspapers during the week: USA Today, The New York Times and our local St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Placed in convenient locations like Grand Dining Hall, Busch Student Center and Pius Library, the local, national and world news was right at the fingertips of my fellow students and I.
Upon returning to campus this Fall, the newspaper carts are still around, but I couldn’t help but notice an interesting detail about them. They did not have newspapers on them! (It should be noted that USA Today has been placed in the carts on Sept. 16 and Sept 17.) Where did they go? Not that I have inquired for their whereabouts, but I am led to believe they were eliminated due to budget-cuts or some other worthy reason. To say the least, I am disappointed by their disappearance—hence, my first opinion piece for the University News.
Maybe I am old-school and like to digest the happenings of our city, nation and world in print, but I see the elimination of student access to these resources as a concerning event. The mission of SLU is “the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of Humanity.” Despite clamoring about “Fake News” and “Biased Press,” newspapers and media have an important place in our world and for the fulfillment of the SLU mission. Newspapers give access to unbiased, factual and relevant news each day. The bias lies in the eyes of the beholder. If one thinks a news story is biased, go find another source! That is no reason to denounce a news outlet and remove it from existence. The Post-Dispatch, New York Times and USA Today have a relevant place on this campus. Removing them from SLU, no matter the reason, is censorship and an action contrary to the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and the service of humanity.
In closing, I have no clue why the newspapers are not available like they used to be. Although, I know that they should be around. Finding ways to give students access to happenings outside of the “SLU bubble” should be a priority, not just a slogan. As Billikens, we have a responsibility to stand up for truth and the free press, and the Student Readership Program did this. Otherwise, students like myself will drift away to find their news and information through outlets like Twitter, Snapchat and other convenient platforms. The absence of newspapers on campus is concerning, and it reflects a dangerous pattern in our society. Factual and reliable information is being discarded for the convenience of platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Newspapers are the checks and balances of our society. Without them, our nation and world is nothing; there is no justice and there is no truth in the absence of free press. We must stand up for our mission and the truth! Where are the newspapers, and what are we doing to provide students with factual and reliable information? Dr. Pestello, Dr. Porterfield or whomever oversees the Student Readership Program, can you answer this question? If so, please let us
know. And yes, you can Tweet the answer if that is more convenient.