Wednesday, Jan. 29 is the Student Press Law Center’s Student Press Freedom Day — a day for the Editorial Board to not only celebrate the liberties we enjoy as an independent student-run newspaper, but also to reflect on our role as a student voice on campus.
With a body of about 18,000 students, there are few avenues for individuals to reach those in power and voice their concerns. Our long-form journalism gives our fellow students an opportunity to more deeply engage with topics ranging from the local to the national level in an objective format. These topics are further explored through argumentative discussion that takes place in our Opinions section, giving each student the chance to reach an audience of thousands. Arts & Culture explores what’s in vogue and beyond. Sports covers the ongoing trials and tribulations of Binghamton University’s various sports teams. Last but not least, Fun puts a sweet end to the otherwise serious business in the rest of the paper.
Our non-content sections work hard as well. Pipe Dream’s copy editors check our stories for accuracy and grammar and our Digital section engages with our audience, explores new storytelling formats and manages our social media accounts. Design helps us represent data and information with graphics and ensures the pages of the newspaper are visually pleasing. Photographs in Pipe Dream are taken by our Photography staff, who work to report on issues and supplement our coverage through images. Behind the scenes, our Technology and Business sections provide our staff with vital support that keeps Pipe Dream functioning as a business and student group. Altogether, twice a week, the combined sections put out a product we’re proud of.
As a relatively young university, BU still lacks certain educational opportunities offered by other institutions, journalism being one of them. Students have risen to meet those needs, forming independent organizations such as Off Campus College Transport (OCCT), the Food Co-op and ourselves. Students interested in pursuing journalism as a career, or merely seeking to improve their writing craft, have found a home in Pipe Dream, something we hope to foster for as long as our University stands.
Our history is intertwined with the history of our school and its students, and that history includes both highs and lows. We are a paper in progress, and have been since our humble beginnings as The Colonial News in 1946. In that first issue, published the same year this school was founded, the editors left a note for the future: “This is a new paper in a new college. It is up to you, all of you, to [e]nsure its success. It will reflect your views and opinions, those of the aggregate student body. Primarily as a news organ it will reflect your achievements — and your failures.”
Being an independent entity means that Pipe Dream’s contributors have long been able to hold BU’s administration and the community at large accountable for the day-to-day events that affect us as students and citizens of Binghamton. Without this freedom, students would not be so fortunate as to report on and criticize both those in power and our own peers.
Therefore, on Student Press Freedom Day we reflect upon our history, but also upon our future.