Thursday, August 16, 2012

Student Paper showdown at the House of Dawg

The entire student editorial staff of the University of Georgia's student newspaper (which is independent of the university) has walked out. As a member in a past life of the editorial staff of a student newspaper, I applaud this move: the students cite massive interference in day-to-day operations by the paper's board of directors, hiring of ten(!) full-time staff (an impossible number to sustain for a paper which publishes in print only weekly) and demanding prior restraint on content. The excerpta from the draft memo to the student editors are both hilarious and chilling in their illiteracy.

However, to the journalists covering this story and the ed staff of the Red and Black, a word: your accounts so far are disjointed and not particularly coherent. As a reader, I need to know who the people are who are forcing these changes forward: the Poynter story linked above talks about the Board of Directors, but does not have any indication of who sits on that board, how they are appointed, or to whom they answer (except that they are not answerable to the University, at least nominally).

There is some kind of conflict of interests at play here, and as someone who values student journalism, I say we need to have it reported on.

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