One Small Policy Change for Fish, One Giant Leap for Student Journalism

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Published January 29, 2020
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The Montclarion
Alex Kitchmire | The Montclarion

Last semester, The Montclarion published an article highlighting the regulations of fish tank sizes in campus dorm rooms. Carley Campbell noticed the restrictions on the tanks were more stringent than other New Jersey colleges. She used the platform of The Montclarion to express her dissatisfaction and last week, Montclair State University administrators released a policy update.

Residence Life will now allow fish tanks that hold up to five gallons of water, a four-gallon increase from the previous policy.

On behalf of The Montclarion, we feel immensely proud and accomplished that our purpose as a student newspaper continues to be fulfilled.

Having a rule changed regarding the permitted size of a fishbowl may be looked upon as insignificant or even juvenile, but no matter the issue or its magnitude, any time the press is utilized to help correct a flaw of society, democracy is at work.

In a time where scrutiny toward the press continues to increase, it is important that the function the press serves in our society is not forgotten.

Those in positions of authority must be held accountable for their actions, and if the press cannot help, then who can?

Every year, citizens flood to voting booths to elect their council-people, mayors, senators, governors and all other positions people can fill to invoke change in their communities. The decisions made inside those voting booths are largely dependent on the role the press plays in informing those voters.

While it is imperative that the governors be held accountable, it is equally important that the press be as well.

The term “fake news” is commonly thrown around to denounce the press and its integrity.

A distrust between citizens and the press is detrimental to the function and progression of society. Any member of the press that does work for their fellow citizens with honesty and probity, fails as a journalist.

The news circuit on television networks has become driven by ratings and monetization; it is CNN versus FOX versus MSNBC, with no clear unbiased source.

These once reliable news outlets dedicated to the informing of the American public have abandoned the fundamental purpose of the press.

It is understood that these networks, as well as newspapers, operate as businesses in competition with one another, but the American public’s knowledge of their government and communities should come second to none, especially to monetary profits.

Former Supreme Court Justice, Hugo Black, said during the trial regarding the release of the Pentagon Papers, “In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.”

The relationship between citizens and the press must be one of transparency and togetherness. As soon as the two no longer work as a single entity with a common purpose, society becomes stagnant, left blind of any injustices being performed by its government.

The Montclarion will continue to operate on behalf of the student body of Montclair State. It will work to shine a light on wrongdoings and do everything in its power to right them, even for the betterment of our tiny aquatic friends.

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