Arbitrary & frightening

By Lauri Kytömaa, Assistant Sports Editor

Coming in as the Assistant Sports Editor for the 2010-2011 staff of the Queen’s Journal I had no intention of getting involved in any sort of political debate. A recent motion issued by the AMS assembly has changed that.

The motion requires the Media Services Director (Sarah Kwong) to “conduct an analysis of the content of The Queen’s Journal during the current academic year and to subsequently report on the percentage of content that directly addresses student activities and events.”

The passing of such a motion is both arbitrary and frightening. It is arbitrary because we are the Queen’s student newspaper.

From the front page of the News section to back of the Postscript the paper is made by students to be read by students. There is hardly any material that doesn’t relate in some way to the campus community. News is strictly oriented to Queen’s campus activities, administration and student life. Features are just the same. Opinions and Letters (now Dialogue) are chiefly written by students not on the Journal Editorial Board, Arts focuses on the Kingston happenings, Sports are entirely isolated to the Queen’s Gaels and Postscript too is totally focused on campus life.

Sadly it seems that the members of the AMS body have failed to pick up a copy of the Journal in recent history. “Percentage of content that directly addresses student activities and events” what the hell does that even mean? Is a 95% good enough?

Yet this motion is frightening because it may represent a first step in undermining the freedom of the press for the University’s most prominent paper. The AMS may further begin to infringe on the editorial freedom of the paper. By making judgements on what stories should be covered and which ones should be omitted the AMS would take a disturbingly totalitarian control over a body that they should have no control over.

A good paper derives from creativity and freedom to discuss what an editorial board thinks needs to be discussed. Constantly double checking with a third-party would cripple the Journal’s ability to produce a good product. It would take longer to make sure things were allowed to be written and even longer in bitter debate.

My jaded view on political bodies has only grown as a result of this process. It appears that the AMS cannot find anything better to do than arbitrarily strip the power of the school’s student paper. I’m sure there are more pressing matters at hand.

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