Letter from the Editor

Deserving the News

Earlier this week, while putting off doing my homework for another hour or three, I came across an article on the blog Jimromenesko.com.

The post, titled “Teen Editor in 1978: You Students don’t deserve a school newspaper!” was a three decade-old Letter from the Editor printed in the Riverside Secondary School of Windsor, Ontario’s newspaper.

“The students of R.S.S. do not deserve a newspaper,” wrote the self-titled Ex-Editor Darlene Hebert. “It isn’t appreciated and even more, it seems most of you don’t give a damn if there is a paper or not.”

The editor’s reasoning behind closing the newspaper with a huff?: A student body (”The most apathetic, disinterested, unintellectual group of students in the city,” as she writes) that refused to pay for the school newspaper. A student body that, as she writes, “wouldn’t get off their cans at lunch to pick one up,” even if their paper was free.

It certainly was a good time for this ancient letter from a dying newspaper to be dredged from its crypt. The print industry as a whole is suffering from a shrinking readership, and more and more papers are closing their doors because of people who are unwilling to pay for and read a long piece of printed text.

But, no matter how apathetic a readership can become, is it right for a newspaper to close shop, pick up its metaphorical ball and go home?

Though I can understand, even separated by so many years, the frustration that must have born this letter, I can not agree with the editor’s statement that students don’t deserve information.

Information is a vital commodity, a necessity for education and instruction. And it is an abundant commodity in this country, as common in the United States as water or electricity. And, like water or electricity, while information is not appreciated when present, its lacking is well-noticed.

Information keeps us connected with the world. It lets us know when our politicians have done wrong, where our world is expanding and who is worthy of shame or praise. It allows us to grow and question and – if left unmolested – think independently.

People deserve information. People deserve newspapers and television and the internet and radio. And, though it may seem a thankless job to some in the newspaper industry, the expansion of knowledge is a duty that earns its own thanks.