Though just over a decade old, The Mesquite stands in full support of our longstanding sister publication The Battalion and its editorial staff at College Station as the Texas A&M University president M. Katherine Banks demands to cease print publication.
The Battalion staff received the news without prior warning on Feb. 10.
The Battalion wrote Feb. 11, “Banks said she, as someone who is not a journalist, does not know why print journalism is important.”
The first constitutional amendment guarantees freedom of the press and its distribution.
While it is easy to dismiss print journalism, it is still a valuable and efficient way of spreading news. Print news often has a loyal and consistent audience. As the Battalion noted, Banks is the one who demanded to stop production, not the newspaper’s readers.
Readers are a fundamental part of print journalism. Though Banks’ motive is to transition print news to a digital format, many of those readers will not be part of that transition.
The Battalion has been publishing print news since 1893. The only exception was a brief period during World War I, according to the news outlet. It has also been publishing digital news since 1997.
The move to online would rob The Battalion of its longstanding tradition as a print publication and would no longer be as accessible across multiple mediums.
“PRINT IS NOT DEAD” headlined The Battalion’s final print publication on Feb. 17.
This edition opened with a piece from The Battalion’s editorial staff arguing that the paper had the freedom to publish by any means they wanted, regardless of what administration thought print news is worth.
While the sudden cancelation of print operations was significant, the editorial board wrote that most of its frustrations were with A&M administration’s complete disregard for The Battalion’s staff and their rights as an independent press organization.
The Mesquite has similarly faced opposition from Texas A&M-San Antonio administration on numerous occasions in the past that has caused our publication unnecessary setbacks in our journalistic work.
If we do not challenge attempts to censor and minimize distribution of student press, then who’s to say further and more dramatic attempts will not be made by administration down the line?
We as press entities within the university system should remain steadfast in our mission to deliver news to our communities to the best of our ability. We are not merely student journalists; we are key to maintaining a free and fair democracy within the university system.
Student press is not a marketing arm of the university and The Battalion should reserve the right to oversee all publishing decisions under administration’s guidance.
We hope The Battalion is able to strike a fair deal with A&M’s administration that is in the best interest of the university community.