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Respect the role of the media

Among the many things that have yet to be understood on campus regarding the UNB law school debacle, it is obvious a healthy notion of the freedom of the press by, of all people, those who wish to pursue a career in justice, is one of them.

During the Brunswickan’s coverage of the turmoil within the UNB law department last week, certain members of the UNB law community got it in their heads that shooting the messenger would be a good way to shut us up; evidenced over and over again by the onslaught of Tweets targeting and harassing news editor Emma McPhee and the Brunswickan as a whole for simply doing our jobs every time we did them.

It didn’t work. We didn’t shut up. We didn’t shut up because the media’s role is not to create stories, but to cover them — a concept apparently lost on some last week. And when a new law dean plagued by serious allegations steps down four months after his appointment, followed by a fleet of other faculty; when students aren’t getting marks back and classes are being cancelled and no one feels safe to talk about it, that’s a story worth covering.

It’s a story we won’t stop covering because that is our job, and part of that job is going after the story whether or not it’s popular among some of its characters. It has become clear that those characters — people who share some common ground with journalists in terms of their efforts to right wrongs, deliver justice, and stay strong in the face of intimidation for those who require a voice — need a refresher on their own role, too.

I get that no one wants to have their reputation damaged. But frankly I can think of few things more damning to a prospective lawyer’s reputation than trying to shut up those with the right to write.

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