Sydney Stump, The Whetstone 

It’s very frustrating when I can’t do one interview without hearing:

“I want to be anonymous.”

“I don’t want to be in the paper.”

“I can’t be in the Whetstone.”

“The Whetstone twists my words.”

“Don’t put that in the paper.”

Writing a story is sometimes very frustrating. It’s almost as though some students think that if they are quoted in the paper, they will get some incurable disease.

Writing for the Whetstone has been a fun learning experience. Not all students make interviews hard. Most will talk and be very good sources for a story. Other students, however, make the job difficult.

Most stories I do are sports stories. As a student athlete, I find it very enjoyable to write about the teams and sporting events on campus. However, what’s frustrating is when a student athlete tells me, “Our coach doesn’t want us to be interviewed for the paper. He might let you talk to the team captains.”

This isn’t as frustrating because I have to talk to the team captains, and team captains are always good sources for a sports article. However, why is a student athlete being told he can’t be interviewed for an article in the paper about the team’s goals for the season? I’m certain a coach cannot tell a student athlete he or she can’t talk to a student-run newspaper for the campus community. It’s a great example of a violation of the First Amendment.

Another example of students having their First Amendment rights violated is when a student is told by their club or organization that they can’t be interviewed about the organization because they are not allowed to speak for it. This hasn’t happened often but I have experienced it.

Even though it’s tough to write for the paper when sources won’t talk to reporters, it’s still a fun job. Being able to finally finish a good story makes all the frustrating sources, long interviews and hours typing and retyping a story seem insignificant. Going through all the tough obstacles is part of being a good reporter. However, what upsets me most is when someone says, “The Whetstone only writes negative stories, and twists peoples words.”

This is insulting. The students who write for the paper are very talented writers and there have been beautiful stories written that are far from negative. Obituaries, profiles, charities, and stories about students and their experiences on this campus are not all negative stories. All it takes is one story about the truth that someone doesn’t like and suddenly the whole paper is categorized into a negative paper. However, its simply not true.

The First Amendment allows us the freedom of speech, and the students writing for the Whetstone are exercising that right by showing off their talents in these amazing stories.