We say no to filtered and surface level reporting


Enrique Liganor

A photo illustration for a computer that shows the theskylineview.com April, 22. 2020

Over the past few weeks, the journalism students and the staff of The Skyline View have struggled to find information from people on campus.

This reduction in access to information was the result of an email that was sent from the president’s office a few weeks ago — a few hundred words that challenged our core values: journalistic ethics, objectivity and freedom of speech. This email, which was addressed to the faculty and staff of Skyline College, read, in part, “If you are ever contacted by the press, please always refer the press to our PIO (public information officer) first, before responding to any questions, or doing any interviews.”

While it requested to honor and respect the role of our PIO and MCPR (the office of Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations), it disrespectfully stepped over us and our work. We see this as an attempt to silence the voices of the college’s community and as a threat to accountability.

With this email, the new president has aimed to create a glass wall between Skyline College staff and the press. It is a shame that the president’s office has chosen to censor information by driving the truth away from the college’s community, rather than creating a better way to access information.

It is alarming for us because it stands as an obstacle to our reporting on our community, and it, to some extent, limits the rights that the First Amendment grants us.

On numerous occasions over the course of the past few weeks, we’ve been referred to our PIO and MCPR more often than we had been over the past few years. We’ve also been asked to send stories for review before publishing them. We have been keeping track of instances of either having been rejected or referred to PR.

We’d like to make something very clear at this point: We at The Skyline View are not seeking approval, because we take pride in reporting with accuracy and objectivity. We stand firm in our commitment to our community and to journalism. We hereby request the president’s office to withdraw its new policy of requesting everyone to always refer to the PIO and MCPR, and ask them to do their job by creating a safer and transparent environment within the college district.

We never have and never will provide filtered information to our readers. We have continuously advocated for transparency and freedom of speech, and that does not change in this case. We will advocate against the new media guidelines until they are withdrawn.