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Statement from Medill Interim Dean Charles Whitaker

November 9, 2018 | By Charles Whitaker (BSJ80, MSJ81)
Statement From Medill Interim Dean Charles Whitaker

"It is often said that history will judge us not only for what we said and did in times of strife, but also for our silence. It is important, therefore, that those of us who purport to champion and teach the high ideals and responsibilities of journalism raise our voices when one of the most important obligations of our industry -- the duty to speak truth to power -- comes under attack.

It is incredibly disconcerting when journalists are censured for doing their job, and we cannot turn a blind eye to this encroachment on press freedom, a concept that is enshrined in the Constitution. Our democracy depends on the functioning of an unfettered press that is allowed to question our leaders and hold them accountable without fear of reprisal.

Our role at Medill is to prepare our students to think critically, to ask thoughtful questions and to share accurate and truthful information. But it is important, too, that an institution as prominent as Medill stand up for our profession -- that we insist that our students and our professional colleagues are allowed to perform their roles honorably and without being declared ‘enemies of the state.’

This is a critical moment in the history of American journalism. My hope is that it is not a moment that signals the end of the press liberties that enable us to obtain the information that is essential to the maintenance of the republic."

- Charles Whitaker, Interim Dean
Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

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