Dear University of Rhode Island,

Three weeks and three snow days into the spring semester, it’s a relief to be able to officially welcome you back with the first print edition of the Cigar of 2015.  Since we last printed, the journalism community and world at large was rattled by an attack of terror that paralleled the 2001 9/11 attacks in its global impact, public reaction and widespread media coverage.

At a time when the media’s freedom of speech has been nationally and publically challenged by events like the Charlie Hebdo attack, the kidnapping and execution of journalists by the terrorist group ISIS and the hacks to Sony Pictures Entertainment, we invite the URI community to reflect on how they appreciate the privilege of the first amendment rights we often take for granted.

As a collegiate press, we at the Cigar are fortunate that we are not censored by the university in any way.  The content we produce is created by our staff, approved by our editors and printed.  Though our paper is free, every time you pick up a copy you are silently voting for our freedom of speech.

As a community of young journalists, we also urge you to remain aware in the wake of the Paris attacks that for every act of media censorship that is publicized nationally, there are countless more we will never hear of.

Thank you for supporting us as journalists, reading our publication and recognizing your freedom of speech.