Opinion: Jim Acosta stands up for free press

 Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, standing on the press platform on April 4, 2016 at the Richard I. Bong Airport in Superior. Photo by Samantha Church

Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, standing on the press platform on April 4, 2016 at the Richard I. Bong Airport in Superior. Photo by Samantha Church

On Friday, Nov. 16, federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate CNN’s chief white house correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass.

Hearing this big news for press freedom brings me back to my first experience as a political journalist.

In 2016, I was a high school journalist, writing for The Spartan Spin. Presidential candidate Donald Trump was on his way to visit Superior. My adviser urged me to go cover the event, anticipating student attendance.

I walked up to the Richard I. Bong Airport and saw lines of people in support of the now president. At the fence on the way in, protestors lined up holding posters in disbelief.

I was a new journalist, only working with the Spartan Spin for less than a year. I wasn’t exactly sure where to go. I then saw a sign that said “PRESS” in red letters. I followed it, and was immediately greeted by metal detectors. A tall, intimidating security guard asked me to take off any metal items and reveal to him any possible weapons. I assured him all I had was my notebook, pen and recorder.  He waved the detector around me, and ushered me forward past two K9 units. I was told I had a brief period of time to use the restroom and then was moved again, but to a spot I had never been before. I walked into a fenced in area marked “PRESS,” and was asked to walk up onto a platform.

I was next to a few local press reporters and photographers, and we waited for more people to show up. Not even a few moments later, Jim Acosta walked up the stairs onto the platform. Holding a CNN microphone, I knew I was about to stand next to someone who was nationally recognized. Little did I know, he was going to become one of my idols.

Jim Acosta has consistently held those in power to a light and examined them. He asks jarring questions, knowing that the answer will be tough. He makes me proud to be a journalist, even though print media is “dying.”

Acosta’s First and Fifth amendment were violated in the press pass suspension. Current power holders cannot handle strong, confident journalists.  

In future American media history classes, this moment will be used as a win. Our job is to hold a light to democracy. We will continue to hold that light, whether those in power can handle it or not. One day I’ll get to stand next to Acosta again, both of us wearing press passes.

VoicesSamantha Church