I’m slowly coming to terms with the whole “not being in college” thing, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not still very invested in UGA and the goings on at the school.
At some point this afternoon, the editors and staff of the student-run paper, The Red and Black, walked out and resigned. This came after the staff received a memo from the board saying that they had hired over 10 professionals who would now have final say in all of the paper’s content.
Since then, the former staff has been tweeting from redanddead815, and here is some of what they’ve had to say about the events that caused the walkout.
We believe part of good journalism is to hold institutions accountable, to provide information people need to live better lives.
@redandblack hired more than 10 professional staffers. We believe content at a student newspaper should be student-produced.
Our EIC was told today that all content will go through the Editorial Director, a professional, who will make final decisions.
We believe content should be student-sourced, student-written, student-produced and student-approved.
And this is from the official statement from the paper’s former Editor in Chief.
In less than a month, The Red & Black has hired more than 10 permanent staff with veto power over students’ decisions.
In a draft outlining the “expectations of editorial director at The Red & Black,” a member of The Red & Black’s Board of Directors stated the newspaper needs a balance of good and bad. Under “Bad,” it says, “Content that catches people or organizations doing bad things. I guess this is ‘journalism.’ If in question, have more GOOD than BAD.” I took great offense to that, but the board member just told me this is simply a draft. But one thing that would not change is that the former editorial adviser, now the editorial director, would see all content before it is published online and in print. For years, students have had final approval of the paper followed by a critique by the adviser only after articles were published. However, from now on, that will not be the case. Recently, editors have felt pressure to assign stories they didn’t agree with, take “grip and grin” photos and compromise the design of the paper.
Essentially, the paper’s board has taken control over the student-run paper and has turned it over to professionals who are more concerned with money and less concerned about UGA and journalistic integrity.
If all of this turns out to be true, than I am proud to call myself a former contributer to The Red and Black when they were entirely student-run. For now, I’ll watch the story as it develops and wait to see what the paper’s board has to say and how UGA handles this situation.