The Runner: still on a short leash

Why The Runner needs autonomy, and needs it now.

The autonomy of The Runner, is dependant on talks between the KSA, and The Runner’s business division. Each party is equally responsible to ensure autonomy is created.

By Cole Griffin

“The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” –Thomas Jefferson

In this, our election issue, it is necessary to address the importance of a free voice for the student press. As Mr. Jefferson mentioned above, the opinion of the people is supposed to be the driving mechanism behind any democratic government. This principle is founded on the idea that the people of a democratic nation are a well-informed population, capable enough of mind to form an educated opinion and well informed enough of every side of every issue to form a unique opinion, rather than a simplified regurgitation of the last edition’s most popular bit of sophistry. In this scheme, the roles the free press plays are, at once, the informer, the opinionated, and the critic. One should be able to pick up an election issue and find within its pages every side of the story.

Articles should cite the achievements and failures of the existing government body, and the qualifications – or lack thereof – of the potential candidates. I’m sure The Runner would have been glad to do that, were it not for one crucial impediment. The Runner is not, in the proper sense, a member of the free press.

Now a glib response would be to say, “Well, I don’t pay for it.”

Well, in a way, you do. The KSA collects fees from each Kwantlen student and then funnels the funds to us. This is how we’re able to produce a weekly paper, maintain a website and keep publishing student works.

Ours is a free publication in the sense that we do not charge for copies, though one might, half-jokingly, point out that it often costs you time and effort to find the nuggets of worth within this student publication. However, more seriously, the fact remains that The Runner is not an autonomous entity.

Despite autonomy being a necessity for a publication to remain unbiased, the humble publication is woefully relies on the continued support of the KSA for our financial backing. As such, we can hardly bite the hand that feeds us, no matter how succulent and deserving it may be. Our existence may depend on our subservience; it is possibly purchased by  turning blind eyes toward relevant issues. We are not a free voice. By the sound of our clanging shackles, you may be warned of our impediment. We are a dependent entity.

However, in this time of upcoming election, the good minds that contribute to this publication still think that something must be said that influences the student body to put their votes towards the furtherance of this institution’s academic life.

Maybe the best choice for future representatives of the KSA might be those rare types of soul that understand that a student press best serves its readership by being a free voice, one able to criticize the errors, irresponsibility, and incompetence of its actions (or inactions as the case may be). Not necessarily to pick at hairs, but to serve as an informational tool – a guiding light that shines along the many paths that lead to improvement.