Student press freedom matters, because the perspective of student press is much more aligned with the interests of students. Graphic provided by the Student Press Law Center. | THE ALL STATE

Corruption is everywhere these days. You turn on the TV to watch the news, and to quote Zach Bryan, “Everyone seems a damn genius lately.” Politicians and media outlets talk about a variety of topics, acting like they are experts at anything relevant to today’s society.

In reality, they aren’t. They talk about whatever will get people’s attention and whatever will make them money. They say whatever their audience wants to hear, because that’s what pays. Literally.

You can’t necessarily blame them, I suppose. We’ve all got bills to pay and mouths to feed, whether you’re on Wall Street or College Street. It’s only natural to do what we must to survive, but that doesn’t warrant the corruption we see today.

Both sides of the political aisle and corporate division will happily tell you that the other guy is stuffing our brains with fake news, pointing out the splinter in another’s eye and ignoring the tree in their own.

Over the past few years, civil, political and societal unrest have become a hallmark of our country. We’ve seen Black Lives Matter, the COVID-19 Pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the current conflict between Israel and Palestine and so much more on both a domestic and an international stage. All of these have brought their own varieties of riots, rallies and protests.

Yet the coverage of all of these events has been conflicting at best when we sit down to watch the nightly news. Fox, CNN and all of the other big media corporations tell their audience whatever their benefactors pay them to cover. Even if it is not outright fake news, it is not the whole picture.

The thing is, people want to see the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but it’s not always a pretty picture, and people don’t like to see an ugly picture. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, though. We need to see the big picture, no matter how ugly. It’s the only way we progress and grow as people.

That change won’t start with the big companies or our political parties, either. It has to start small. It has to start with us. The everyday man. The regular guy. The John and Jane Does. We have to be the ones to set that precedent.

That’s why student press freedom is important. Student press is a platform for students like you and me to say something and bring attention to the real things going on around us. We aren’t directly tied to school.

We aren’t employees of Austin Peay State University. We aren’t Public Relations. We don’t have to publish these happy-go-lucky, positive stories or basic pieces of fluff. We can address issues like D2L disruptions and how horrendous parking has been this year.

Student press gives us a voice to talk about the things that matter to us, to me and you. That’s the only reason that anything we do at The All State matters, because it matters to us.

The freedom of the student press, and the freedom of the press in general, protects us so that we can do that. Without that freedom, the change we want to see never happens.