Some of the members of The Knight staff got the chance to meet some new faces Thursday, and we’re not talking about our snazzy Halloween costumes.
Those who could make it met up with some of the staff members from The Behrend Beacon – Penn State Behrend’s weekly newspaper – for the first time last week.
The get-together was proposed for social reasons, because the two staffs have never met before, but it also gave us the chance to compare notes. We returned with a full report of how one other university newspaper works.
While we discovered many differences between the two papers at this gathering, the most startling thing we uncovered was The Beacon’s freedom.
Though nothing has become an issue yet this semester, we’re well aware that we have to watch what we publish in The Knight. Any stray comment that might reflect badly on Gannon University or contradict its Catholic values will surely have a repercussion that lands at least one of us in the dog house.
There’s where the profound difference lies: we’re a Catholic university; Behrend is not. This is the one tidbit that makes the difference when it comes to freedom of press.
Something we need to recognize at Gannon is that even though this is a Catholic university, not every student is Catholic. And even though this is Gannon, it’s not perfect. But because the university calls itself Catholic, no opinions its newspaper publishes should contradict the Church.
Meanwhile, other universities like Behrend – similarly sized, populated and educated as Gannon – have free range to say what they want.
Our meeting with their staff gave us reason to consider how much input the administration needs to have in our newspaper.
We don’t know whether either way is necessarily better, but bemused expressions from across the table indicated that our situation isn’t exactly enviable.