Editorial: Newspaper’s primary role is community watchdog

NIU is a large university. DeKalb is a growing city. To think that corruption doesn’t exist here is naive. The Northern Star strives to be the watchdog.

This goal has a foundation stretching several centuries back.

When colonists first came to America in the 1600s, newspapers contained long columns of text covering public events and other news of interest to the settlers.

In the late 1600s to early 1700s, journals critical of the government were quickly censored. Those containing libel or public grievances against the government were disbanded.

It wasn’t until 1735 that a court case involving a printer on charges of libel against the government completely reversed the policy, and newspapers gained their first victory on the way to becoming a free press.

Though much has changed about the newspaper industry in centuries since, those common themes remain. Newspapers function as a medium to serve the public.

Some may argue newspapers don’t always know what is best for the reader and may believe newspapers have no business to tell them how to live their lives.

While this is partly true, newspapers have worked to develop credibility over the hundreds of years of their existence.

In covering city and campus government and politics, the Northern Star aims to inform its readers of decisions those in power make that directly affect their lives.

While some students may write off what the DeKalb City Council does as irrelevant, consider it the next time you want to take a drag from a cigarette inside a bar or when you look at your tuition bill and wonder where $750 of your student fees go.

By alerting our readers to events such as a Liquor Commission or Student Association meeting, we aim to make them informed enough to want to attend these meetings and have their voice heard on important social issues.

Consider attending an upcoming community meeting and take advantage of your right to be heard.