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Sunshine week shines on journalists

Next week is an important one for every student on campus, but spring break is not the only major event scheduled. Next week is also “Sunshine Week,” a media created event aimed at raising the awareness of the free and open press across the country.
The event was started by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and has spread in the effort to raise the awareness of the people to their right of free and open press, and Valdosta State University is not going to be the exception in supporting the noble and necessary cause.
This right week of awareness could not have come at a better time, as the state is on the verge of large funding decreases, and the men and women who are responsible for making those choices will be feeling the pressure from unhappy residents. It is in these unstable circumstances that the importance of information and truth cannot be overlooked. It is in these volatile times that those people who make decisions need the eyes of the public making sure they are the right ones.
The University System of Georgia will probably have to lose over $565 million, and, despite that reduction, the people will need to be aware of where that money will be cut. As it turns out, average citizens do not spend their days keeping tabs on the 236 state congressmen, the university system chancellor or any of the officials at the 35 major universities or colleges.
This is where the idea of free and open press comes into the conversation. The media is, despite perception, the fourth branch of the government and its sole responsibility is to give the people the eyes and ears they do not have the time to obtain for themselves.
So, in recognition of the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors’ “Sunshine Week,” it is time for the media in this small slice of Georgia to do its part in the agreement by making sure the university and state officials handle this financial quandary.
Now, in honor of the people whom this paper and every other media outlet claim to support, the necessary information and insight will be found and presented to ensure that the press is free and the government clean. So, keep your eyes open and be ready to hear some truth, because the awareness of the media is only as good as the interest and passion of the people.

This editorial was written by Michael Wilson (mhwilson@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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