Letter from the editor: We challenge you to challenge us


Chris Estrada

Gabrielle Abdelmessih is the editor-in-chief of The Oakland Post for the 2022-2023 academic year. She is a senior majoring in biomedical sciences and minoring in journalism.

Welcome to the first issue of the summer!

You might have noticed some changes to our website today. We’ve added two new sections — “Arts” and “Science & Technology” — to Vol. 48, and thanks to Megan Parker — one of our talented graphic designers — we have a new logo!

Oakland University’s student newspaper has had many names and designs since its formation in the late fifties: The Oakland Observer (1959-1969), Focus Oakland (1969-1974), The Oakland Sail ( 1975-1987) and, of course, our current title – The Oakland Post. 

By incorporating some of the past with the present of The Post in our design, we hope to highlight the history of this newspaper and its long-tenured tradition of serving as an information platform for campus discussion. 

While each version of this newspaper has had its own unique aesthetic, every form has had the same purpose: to bring OU news to OU’s community, to hold those in power accountable and to serve as a learning experience for future journalists. 

Now more than ever, a free and independent press is a global necessity. Now more than ever, it is under attack. 

This past week, Al Jazeera journalist and Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed while covering an Israeli military raid in the city of Jenin. 

Al Jazeera and Palestinian authorities reported that Israeli forces shot the veteran correspondent and Arab icon, who has spent two decades covering occupied Palestine. Israel initially said she was caught in crossfire and that Palestinian gunmen are most likely responsible. The Israeli military says it is now investigating the possibility that an Israeli soldier was responsible.

Shireen Abu Akleh was killed doing her job. A job that she committed to exposing the atrocities of violence. And she isn’t the only one.

Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine in February, at least 23 journalists have been killed in the line of duty.

All of these journalists had an unwavering, selfless commitment to sharing the truth. Their deaths are heartbreaking tragedies that cannot be forgotten. 

Astonishingly, even in the United States, as little as three years ago, a sitting president labeled the press “the enemy of the people,” a term used by Lenin, Stalin and Goebbels as well as a handful of other despots throughout history. The point is that when a free and fair press ceases to exist, authoritarianism and fascism flourish.

A free press as a core pillar and “Fourth Estate” is vital in a democratic society. Threats to fair and accurate reporting — regardless of how small or large a media platform may be — are dangerous, with tangible consequences. 

I recognize the responsibility and privilege I have to work with student journalists as an independent entity separate from the university that serves the public interest of our community. 

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re already a consumer of this news outlet, but I would ask you to go one step further and partner with us by encouraging your colleagues, classmates and fellow OU community members to pick up a paper or jump online to our website to stay informed. We hope for an unprecedented level of community engagement for Vol. 48, and we welcome news story suggestions, letters to the editor and comments to spark community discussion on our online platform. 

On behalf of myself, the editorial board, section editors, reporting staff, photographers, graphic designers, distributors and ads team, as well as our editorial advisor Garry Gilbert, business advisor Don Ritenburgh and informal faculty advisors: 

We challenge you to challenge us. 

After all, this is your campus, your news.