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Media largely silent on BSU speech policy revisions

Media largely silent on BSU speech policy revisions

Mitch Coffman
September 19, 2014
September 19, 2014

With the news media largely operating with smaller staffs these days, it’s understandable why certain issues and topics are not covered in depth. As a former reporter and a former employee at a news station in this valley, I can say firsthand that media tend to reach for low-hanging fruit these days. There often is not enough time to climb to the top of the tree to see what’s out there.

But if there is an issue that should capture the media’s attention, it is the First Amendment. That amendment is the lifeblood for a free press. Which brings me to the coverage, or lack thereof, about Boise State University agreeing to work with Idaho Freedom Foundation and ACLU of Idaho to revise its campus speech policies. It’s not a “sexy” story. It doesn’t grab most people’s attention.

But it should.

Really, other than a few outlets picking up the Associated Press’s story on the agreement, there has been little said. And that’s a shame. The First Amendment, as any member of the media SHOULD tell you, is important. This agreement is a big deal, and it’s a win for BSU and the students who attend that university.

As an alum of BSU, I am proud the university is working with IFF and the ACLU to make the campus more open for students to express their opinions. It’s vital to the college life and experience.

Turn on any news station or open any newspaper around this valley and you’re bound to see a story promoting this wonderful place as a destination state for people. And, of course, it is impossible to avoid stories about BSU football. OK, fine.

But the media really missed an opportunity when it largely ignored the First Amendment issue on the BSU campus. The First Amendment matters … to all of us, media and citizens alike. Maybe there will be some coverage given when the revisions to free speech on campus at BSU are finalized. I certainly hope so.

In the meantime, Go Broncos.

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