STORY BY COURTNEY FISHMAN
The Times-Delphic serves as an open forum for students, faculty, administrators and the Drake neighborhood. We have always encouraged the insight of our readers and are committed to fostering intelligent conversation about the content published in our weekly paper.
This concept was recently put to the test when a reader questioned the printing of an advertisement in our publication. The question became a learning moment for me, as well as my staff, as our knowledge of media law and First Amendment rights was tested.
While a student publication does not legally operate under the First Amendment, The Times-Delphic functions under this standard as staff writers and editors transition into the professional world of journalism.
Mark Kende, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake University, said the United States tends to stray from censorship in lieu of counter speech.
The Times-Delphic, too, embraces this idea through free and open expression in all four sections of the publication, including advertisements. We feel this principle contributes to a marketplace of ideas in order to educate students and readers about certain issues.
Last September, the case Educational Media Company v. Insley reached the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of two student newspapers, The Cavalier Daily and Collegiate Times, to print alcohol-related ads in their respective publications.
The Times-Delphic holds a content-neutral stance on print ads and welcomes the publication of all advertisements, unless the ad promotes illegal activity.
“Publications have a First Amendment right to protect advertisements that are legal for your audience to use,” said Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center.
Under the Educational Media Company v. Insley Case, alcoholic ads were deemed acceptable for publication because the majority of readers can legally consume alcoholic beverages.
While The Times-Delphic openly accepts advertisements, I ask that you the reader act as a responsible and informed individual.
“There is no liability or responsibility if the claims of the advertisement turn out to be false,” LoMonte said.
If you have questions, ask them. If you are unhappy with the content published, then submit a letter to the editor. An open dialogue is necessary to ensure The Times-Delphic produces robust content, open to interpretation and welcome to continued conversation.