Freedom of the Press: Northwestern University Medill School Interim Dean Charles Whitaker Speaks Out by Elisa Schmitz

Opinion Headlines
5 years ago

Freedom of the Press: Northwestern University Medill School Interim Dean Charles Whitaker Speaks Out

In this volatile political climate, many things we may have taken for granted are being tested, including freedom of the press. As a professional journalist and proud alum of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, I was happy to receive this statement by Medill's Interim Dean, Charles Whitaker, about press freedom:

"It is often said that history will judge us not only for what we said and did in times of strife, but also for our silence. It is important, therefore, that those of us who purport to champion and teach the high ideals and responsibilities of journalism raise our voices when one of the most important obligations of our industry – the duty to speak truth to power – comes under attack.

It is incredibly disconcerting when journalists are censured for doing their job, and we cannot turn a blind eye to this encroachment on press freedom, a concept that is enshrined in the Constitution. Our democracy depends on the functioning of an unfettered press that is allowed to question our leaders and hold them accountable without fear of reprisal.

Our role at Medill is to prepare our students to think critically, to ask thoughtful questions and to share accurate and truthful information. But it is important, too, that an institution as prominent as Medill stand up for our profession – that we insist that our students and our professional colleagues are allowed to perform their roles honorably and without being declared ‘enemies of the state.’

This is a critical moment in the history of American journalism. My hope is that it is not a moment that signals the end of the press liberties that enable us to obtain the information that is essential to the maintenance of the republic."

Charles Whitaker, Interim Dean: Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

To all hard-working professional journalists, please keep doing your jobs. We depend on you to ask the tough questions and deliver the insights and information we need. Thank you for staying strong, when it would be easier to back down. We are with you!

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Elisa Schmitz
Thank you to Charles Whitaker and Medill for speaking out about this. We have to stand with journalists and enable them to do their jobs. Belinda Lichty Clarke
Ann Marie Patitucci
What an articulate and important statement! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing this with us, Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds !
Nicole DeAvilla
Thanks for sharing this Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds -we can't the freedom of the press for granted.
Elisa Schmitz
Jim Acosta and CNN won in court today. The federal judge apparently was a pick of Trump's. A big victory for journalism and freedom of the press. Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead Nicole DeAvilla Donna John Jessica Acree Belinda Lichty Clarke
Nicole DeAvilla
Glad to hear some good news!
Belinda Lichty Clarke
I am proud to call him my boss. He is the perfect choice in my opinion to lead our journalism faculty in the school's mission to teach and promote quality reporting that is based in factual and fair journalism.
Elisa Schmitz
That is wonderful, Belinda Lichty Clarke . I'm so glad to know that Medill is led by such a strong leader! Needed now more than ever.

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