Anchored to the Fourth Estate


Courtesy of LawSchoolNotes

Lily Share ’21, Health & Leisure Section Editor

We Sailors hear of the attacks on journalists around the world. Last year, the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. The year before, a Republican congressman, Greg Gianforte, body-slammed Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian newspaper. President Trump continues to verbally attack newspapers and members of the press. What does the conflict mean for our school newspaper, The Anchor?

Almost two hundred years ago, the press was named the Fourth Estate. The title elevates the press to the level of the three estates of the UK Parliament. In a democratic society with elected representatives, the people rely on a free press with fact-based reporting for information about the government’s actions. The people can then make informed votes about whether to retain or replace the elected representatives.

As a school paper, we Sailors enjoy freedom of the press, the “Fourth Estate.” The Supreme Court, in the case of Tinker v. Des Moines, wrote that public school students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” California has enacted the “Leonard Law” to make the same First Amendment protections apply to private schools.

Writers for The Anchor are fortunate not to encounter censorship or physical and verbal attacks. The paper helps build community by welcoming writing from every grade level and publishing articles that are relevant to our lives. The editors select mostly upbeat stories related to student life, emotional balance, health, and–who could forget?–shopping and travel.

Ideally, we will carry our affection for The Anchor into a lifelong respect for fact-based reporting and an appreciation for the crucial role that a free press has in enabling and protecting democracy.