Questions cause questions at first but the end result could be Student Press Freedom legislation

Some of our Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association newspaper advisers got an email this week that caused some questions and perhaps concern.

The original questions came from a student intern in the Legislative Research Commission. We understand these situations are confidential in nature and without knowing why the questions were being asked, the knee jerk reaction was to be concerned and avoid answering without more information.

Here are three questions, personally sent to each adviser of student newspapers at the public universities. This is the one Michele Day at Northern received:

• First, would it be accurate to say that NKU provides professional staff support and facilities for the newspaper but does not exercise editorial control?

• Second, would it be accurate to say that the publication is supported through the sale of advertising, or does it receive some university funding?

• Finally, is the paper entirely student-run?

Now those may not seem too intrusive but when you don’t know why these are being asked, from the legislature, at a time when the House and Senate are putting together the budget for the next two years, you can see there was some hesitancy in responding.

Logo of the Student Press Law Center

Turns out, the questions could lead to some legislation to benefit these publications. It stems from a nationwide effort by the Student Press Law Center called “New Voices.”

Here, check this out:

Some of the information might appear dated because the effort is more than a year old. But it’s just reaching Kentucky.

We’ve reached out to the Student Press Law Center for more information to use in supporting this legislation, if it gets filed. We also want to get Rep. Angie Hatton involved, the Democrat’s Minority Whip, not because of that role, but because she was managing editor of the Eastern Progress when she was in college. She’s not the one requesting the information of the advisers but could be instrumental in supporting it along the way.

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