Cutting Off the Press
William A. Seeker, president of Florida Keys Community College, has announced a boycott of the local newspaper, using as his excuse that it would "trash our institution with unbalanced news, editorial spin and blatant disregard for our professional employees." According to a newspaper blog, "there was considerable consternation at the FKCC administrative offices when the newspaper didn’t endorse the college’s spokeswoman, Lydia Estenoz, in her bid for a school board seat. Moreover, it published allegations of misconduct by Estenoz’s campaign manager, Robin Lockwood, who happens to be romantically linked with the vice president of the college, Maureen Crowley."
But this is bigger than a petty dispute. An administration should never boycott a local newspaper because of disagreements. According to Seeker, "we need a daily paper that will seek ways to build up its community, not tear it down." This dumbass view that newspapers should print good news, not bad news, is antithetical not only to the spirit of journalism, but also to the spirit of higher education. If a newspaper gets boycotted for criticizing the college, what will happen to students and employees who do the same?