EDITORIAL: AI isn’t going away. Luckily, neither is student journalism

By The Beacon | February 22, 2024 9:00am
Graphic by Studentpressfreedom.org

“In the heart of every educational institution lies a cornerstone of democracy: the student press. Yet, in an era where the boundaries of free speech are tested daily, the question of student press freedom resonates louder than ever before. From censorship battles to the amplification of student voices, the saga of student press freedom unfolds as a crucial narrative in safeguarding the essence of democratic principles within educational realms.”

Could you tell that this was written by ChatGPT? 

In the last year, the rise of AI has made it more difficult than ever to distinguish truth from misinformation. Today on Student Press Freedom Day, we recognize the responsibilities and importance student journalists play in pursuing the truth — staying powerfully persistent as new challenges like artificial intelligence (AI), censorship and other barriers arise.

The Beacon covers stories unique to our community. We describe the hardships of our community, from those impacted by the Lahaina fires to the struggles of LGBTQ+ students. We also celebrate the important accomplishments of the UP community, from the trio of Portland Pilots making MLS draft history to the expansion of academic programs

These firsthand accounts from students cultivate a holistic narrative of what it means to be a part of the UP community. The Beacon strives to encompass all identities on campus. The purpose of a student newspaper is to serve and inform its audience, and when the journalists are a part of that audience, they have the unique insight needed to create an accurate and diverse account of that community. 

In covering DEI topics on campus, we’re able to bring a perspective to topics about marginalized identities that a computer can’t. AI is incapable of addressing the biases embedded in the data it uses.

Rather, AI breeds bias. Informed, critically-thinking journalists instead continue to combat biases in media and reporting.

The Beacon has never published stories written by AI and remains committed to work created, written and crafted by student journalists and members of the community. 

So, celebrate Student Press Freedom Day with The Beacon, a newspaper dedicated to seeking the truth and reporting it. 

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