Hawaii Pacific Reviews Censorship Claim

Sources say that journalism is censored at the Hawaii Pacific University student newspaper.

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Hawaii Pacific University is reviewing the purpose of its student newspaper, the Honolulu Advertiser reports (hat tip, College Media Matters). The review comes after a student expressed concern that the student-run newspaper, the Kalamalama, isn't as independent as it should be.

According to the Advertiser, stories for the Kalamalama go through two editorial steps before making it into print. First, the story is handled by student editors, who determine if the story is ready for publication. Then, an editorial board of faculty members and administrators reviews each edition for accuracy, the report says.

But the editorial process isn't the only place where students aren't exactly working alone. The newspaper also regularly accepts donations from school departments and faculty, and it is funded by the university. The question becomes simple: How independent can the student paper really be?

That's what the school's review panel will determine.

Some students have said that controversial or unfavorable content is edited out of the Kalamalama.

"Two journalism students I've talked to say that they've been censored [in Kalamalama articles] but are afraid to use their names because they think they might lose their scholarships," Tim Lussier, a Hawaii Pacific senior, tells the Advertiser.

But Kalamalama Associated Editor Janel Foster tells the Advertiser that editorial decisions are made on the basis of quality and not censorship. "We try to put in as many stories that are balanced and well written as we can, regardless of whether they [are] uplifting or negative," Foster tells the Advertiser. "In the two years I've worked [at the Kalamalama], I have not once seen a story thrown out because it's negative to the school."

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