There is no doubt that alcohol consumption and binge drinking are part of the nomenclature of college life. But the question remains - should alcohol be advertised in a college newspaper?
That's the question what the Virginia Supreme Court is considering because Virginia's law banning the ads is being challenged by Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. Editors at The Breeze are watching the case closely.
Should alcohol be advertised in a college newspaper? That's the question what the Virginia Supreme Court is considering because Virginia's law banning the ads is being challenged by Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. Editors at The Breeze are watching the case closely.
"We treat this paper as professionally as we can while balancing our class schedules and stuff, so I feel like its only fair that we have the same kind of regulations and same abilities," explains Breeze Editor-In-Chief Tori Foster.
However, college papers are not under the same regulations. In order to curb underage drinking, college papers in Virginia are not allowed to advertise happy hour or drink specials for local restaurants. As with any paper, General Manager Brad Jenkins says those ad dollars keep The Breeze running.
"Ad sales are extremely important to us, almost 90 percent of our budget," explains Jenkins.
A lot of students who pick up the paper are over the age of 21, and editors say some of the ads should be geared towards them as well.
"Certainly, we don't want to advocate underage drinking, but I think there's a recognition that there are students on campus who are of age," says Jenkins.
"It's very important for the local businesses to advertise for that, and everyone knows that they're here, and that's a big part of the downtown area," says Foster.
However, what is most important to Foster and the paper, is the freedom of press. They treat their work professionally and believe the supreme court should overturn the law, holding them to the same standards as other media.
"The court is going to have to decide whether its going to afford the same rights to college newspapers as it does to the rest of the media, and I think that most people in college media want that to happen," says Jenkins.
According to the Breeze's Legal Advisor Roger Soenksen, in order to win the lawsuit, the state will have to prove that the law is needed and that banning ads reduces underage drinking.
"They go to movies. They pick up other commercial newspapers which do not have this ban applied to them. So, what's the difference between the [Daily News Record] running an alcohol ad for a bar or restaurant here in town or JMU's Breeze or any other college newspaper in the Commonwealth," says Soenksen.