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Red & Dead
August 15, 2012 11:25 PM   Subscribe

"I, Polina Marinova, have resigned as the editor-in-chief from The Red & Black, the student newspaper covering the University of Georgia. The Red & Black’s top editors, design staff, photo staff and reporters walked out of the newspaper building this afternoon."

The mass departure follows a memo of staff expectations issued by the board of directors of the newspaper, which is independent of the university. Among the "expectations" issued by the board to which Marinova objected was that the newspaper's coverage find a balance of "GOOD" (human interest pieces directly relating to the UGA student audience) and "BAD" (explained in the board's memo as "Content that catches people or organizations doing bad things. I guess this is 'journalism'."). This was followed by a final note to "[i]f in question, have more GOOD than BAD." Marinova also alleged that students no longer have final approval in the content of the newspaper, writing that "[r]ecently, editors have felt pressure to assign stories they didn't agree with, take 'grip and grin' photos and compromise the design of the paper."

The departed staff, now calling themselves "Red and Dead", continue to communicate through Facebook and a (currently suspended) Twitter account. The Student Press Law Center is following the matter as it unfolds.
posted by ctab (84 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
ctab: "The departed staff, now calling themselves "Red and Dead""

But by walking out, I guess they've at least redeemed themselves, right?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:32 PM on August 15, 2012 [17 favorites]


Are you burying the lede? Why/how was their twitter account suspended?
posted by Bwithh at 11:36 PM on August 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am a little confused by the comment on the third page of instructions - about Lily Pullitzer. Forget the insane false equivalence with antisemitism and racism, I honestly am lost at the allusion. Would it be snark at preppy kids? Snickering at the j crew wearing sorority girls trying to uphold those last bastions of exclusivity in a changing world? Is that the BAD news that got to some bored suburbanite on the board?
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:39 PM on August 15, 2012


I think the students are getting a great learning experience about being a journalist in the US:
Real journalism is "bad" and undesirable.
posted by sour cream at 11:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [43 favorites]


From page 3 the PDF, "We will not tolerate: ... -Liable". I know it's a draft but still, that's just appalling for someone reorganizing a newspaper.

Page 2 is the giveaway. It all reads to me like: "We're going to turn ourselves into another generic, user generated, trend driven, borderline blogspam ridden, glorified facebook page". Because there aren't enough of those already.
posted by Grimgrin at 11:46 PM on August 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


According to the former editor-in-chief, the "memo of staff expectations" was a draft from one member of the board of directors, not the whole board. It's pretty asinine, but there are always going to be asinine single members of student media boards of directors. Maybe it is illustrative of a larger culture.

The decision to place control of content in the hands of a non-student is pretty awful. I used to be president of the Texas Student Publications Board of Operating Trustees1, and we were always trying to remove our official policy that the newspaper adviser could strike anything from the paper, overriding the student editor, but the university wouldn't let us. I thought the whole point of going independent was so that you could actually have students in charge instead of university officials who will want it to be a PR organ.

Who is the Board of Directors and how are they selected? It looks like the president is a retired small-time newspaper publisher and the vice-president is a former Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter who got rich while married to Dennis Hayes of Hayes modem fame. Why aren't they students? Or journalism educators?

1 MeFi+TSM fun facts: (1) we employed ColdChef while I was president. (2) At least one other board president is a MeFi member.
posted by grouse at 11:55 PM on August 15, 2012 [10 favorites]


Seems like either it's a student newspaper or it isn't. If they have a non-student board of directors, 10 non-student permanent staff and it's independent from the school, it seems to me it's just a newspaper that focuses on campus events that happens to have a lot of students working there.

That makes it a lot less odious to me than if it was coming from the state-funded university. The pre-publication review is a bummer, but all it essentially means that the person who had the title of editor-in-chief actually wasn't. The "I guess this is journalism" and other misc. parts are misguided, but probably not a lot more misguided than is happening at a lot of other journalistic organizations across the country.

Given that it was the entire staff who walked out, perhaps they'll start their own paper/website.
posted by brentajones at 12:01 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


A newspaper's board doesn't know the difference between i.e. and e.g. ?
posted by Bwithh at 12:03 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: I guess this is 'journalism'.
posted by Sonny Jim at 12:03 AM on August 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Given how heavy of a hand UGA has in Athens, and their complete ability to control the police and other governmental bodies in the city, this does not surprise me in one bit. It does surprise me that this wonderful group of students actually had the balls to stand up to UGA's bullies and actually stand for what is right. Not something I would have expected from anyone at UGA but a very tiny and very quite few who have yet to be mowed over or weeded out by the school.

Can you tell I lived in Athens for a year and think very little of the people I encountered on their faculty and staff?
posted by strixus at 12:05 AM on August 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” - George Orwell
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:15 AM on August 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” - George Orwell

Wikiquote editors have not found evidence that George Orwell ever said this.
posted by grouse at 12:23 AM on August 16, 2012 [28 favorites]


Well, grouse just illustrated journalism, at least as defined by that quote.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:40 AM on August 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


"I hope the students go back and assert their right to practice good journalism," Middleton said in a phone interview. "We want a strong and thriving Red and Black and I hope the students will go in and make it that way. ... They can't be as effective journalists outside The Red and Black."

I predict these words will come to haunt UGA's journalism department and the university.
posted by parmanparman at 1:06 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wikiquote editors have not found evidence that George Orwell ever said this.

Not surprising, considering that the actual quote is actually attributed to Alfred Hamsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe and founder of both the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror.
posted by Skeptic at 1:06 AM on August 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I predict these words will come to haunt UGA's journalism department and the university.

The Red and Black does is not under the control of the journalism department or the university.

Not surprising, considering that the actual quote is actually attributed to Alfred Hamsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe and founder of both the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror.

It's attributed to William Randolph Hearst too. Since I haven't seen any specifics of where Orwell, Hearst, or Hamsworth were said to have uttered this, it doesn't seem wise to believe any of these attributions.
posted by grouse at 1:11 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's attributed to William Randolph Hearst too.

Must have been Mark Twain's day off
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:06 AM on August 16, 2012 [31 favorites]


Must have been Mark Twain's day off

Or Oscar Wilde's. Or Dorothy Parker's. They were mad quotables.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:13 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


You're telling me it wasn't Churchill?
posted by bicyclefish at 4:18 AM on August 16, 2012


Speaking from personal experience, Kent Middleton is kind of a prick.
posted by dortmunder at 4:29 AM on August 16, 2012


You're all wrong. The first part of the quote is Franklin. The second part is Carlin. The punctuation was added by Confucius.
   - Tho. Jefferson, 17th of March, 1952
posted by Riki tiki at 4:35 AM on August 16, 2012 [16 favorites]


Play journalists meet real bosses. When people buy this sort of paper they want mostly pictures of campus event and suchlike, not gritty exposes of stationary budget skullduggery. Could this be a case of ambitoius would be journos want to make name for themselves doing big journalism in paper not suited for it and board tries to tone it down a little, because its a real paper with a real readership and this is costing them money?
posted by Damienmce at 4:59 AM on August 16, 2012


It's emblematic of trends in newspaper management that are exactly the issue to blame when considering the dumbing down of the mainstream media. Pressures to sell the paper with lifestyle-magazine content, and to turn away from significant, contested issues (which, despite skepticism, definitely interest readers - just not the powerful folks under the magnifying glass) have become chronic. News media management has impoverished our information sources, and disempowered our reporters, so dramatically that we're now a bunch of barely sentient rocks and we like it that way. They've succeeded in driving our expectations down so low that some of us can only sneer, now, at the principled people doing their best to make a stand in a corrupt and empty-headed system. These students have done en masse what countless individual reporters and editors in newsrooms across the country would do, except that they need to put food on the table, at least until they're fired for not kowtowing to the publisher line. THis case has value as a microcosm case study - this story could have been written about any news organization I personally know something about, any time over the last several years. Consolidation and lousy, ethically compromised, ignoramus ownership are a cancer on public information.
posted by Miko at 5:18 AM on August 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


stationary budget

Most of them are.
posted by enn at 5:32 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


> When people buy this sort of paper

The R&B is a free giveaway, or was for 300-odd years, and consequently was responsible for massive amounts of campus litter on publication day. (It was distributed outdoors in stacks with a rock on top as a paperweight. First person who takes a copy--it at least had local movie start times--lifts rock, takes copy, tosses rock aside. Next gust of wind scatters all the other copies in the stack hither and yon.

No, the price can't have changed. No one on earth would pay a cent for a copy. It existed strictly to be a pretend paper for student journalists to practice on.
posted by jfuller at 5:42 AM on August 16, 2012


“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” - Wierd "Al" Yankovitch
posted by griphus at 5:43 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Seems like either it's a student newspaper or it isn't.

It's fairly common for student newspapers at older schools to be independent of the university. All it takes is one story about the administration that results in funding cuts, and independence seems like a fine idea.
posted by smackfu at 5:48 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


stationary budget

Most of them are.


Touché
posted by Damienmce at 6:04 AM on August 16, 2012


If you want to speak the truth, get a blog. Otherwise, this is nothing suprising. It's how newspapers, tv news, and anything corporate related are ran. Welcome to the world.
posted by stormpooper at 6:21 AM on August 16, 2012


Q: What's red and black and dead all over?
posted by etc. at 6:22 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you want to speak the truth, get a blog.

Well, they did...so they did.

Good on them.
posted by inturnaround at 6:31 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


> Speaking from personal experience, Kent Middleton is kind of a prick.

> "We will not tolerate: ... -Liable".
posted by cjorgensen at 6:34 AM on August 16, 2012


I know the quote as "Real news is something someone, somewhere wants to keep secret. Everything else is advertising," attributed to this guy.

Though as to why this rallying cry of the defenders of true journalism would become disassociated from the founder of the Daily Mail, I haven't the foggiest.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 6:35 AM on August 16, 2012


You're all wrong. The first part of the quote is Franklin. The second part is Carlin. The punctuation was added by Confucius.
- Tho. Jefferson, 17th of March, 1952


Good try, but there is no "17th of March."
posted by Nomyte at 6:41 AM on August 16, 2012


If you want to speak the truth, get a blog.

That's sometimes a good way to speak the truth, but not a fantastic way to get anybody to listen. It's not the output medium, it's the character of the organization that matters.
posted by Miko at 6:44 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you want to speak the truth, get a blog. Otherwise, this is nothing suprising. It's how newspapers, tv news, and anything corporate related are ran. Welcome to the world.
posted


The implication of this, that anybody who thinks that protesting against or trying to change this state of affairs is a naive fool, is deeply depressing and not a little obnoxious. You may think that supine acceptance of injustice is a sign of personal maturity, some of us will make less favourable judgements of your position.
posted by howfar at 6:59 AM on August 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


I attended a wonderful small university during the late 70s. I was editor of the student newspaper there for two years, including a spell when a major story broke (a student died as a result of acute alcohol intoxication at a particularly colorful frat). This latter required me to deal directly with a number of national publications.

At no time did the administration or faculty have any say whatsoever on what we printed. Instead, we had to answer to our readers and each other. It was a priceless experience from which I learned much. In many ways it did more for me than my actual classes.

If guidelines from a board dictate content, what is described here is not a student newspaper. It is a University of Georgia publication that is staffed by students. There is a massive difference.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:59 AM on August 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


The memo actually says "I guess this is 'journalism'"?
posted by koeselitz at 7:03 AM on August 16, 2012


Holy cow, it does.
posted by koeselitz at 7:04 AM on August 16, 2012


From memo:

"We will not tolerate -
...
- Liable"


Or spellchecking, apparently.
posted by VicNebulous at 7:10 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Content that is unacceptable... Headlines that are not in English, obscure the topic of the story...

During my own days as the editor of a university newspaper, we were short on content one week and so we ran a puff piece about a local auto show (which even then, before I ever hear the Lord Northcliffe line, seemed too much like advertising in my view). I was very proud of the headline:

YOU AUTO READ THIS
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Training them to work at Fox News?
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:38 AM on August 16, 2012


It's how newspapers, tv news, and anything corporate related are ran. Welcome to the world.

Respectfully, it is not how non-profit student media is run. Public service to the community (which includes "journalism," not just PR fluff) and education for the participants are the major aims of the enterprise. Making a profit isn't.

Another thing to remember about student media is that the people generating the "content" are basically volunteers or are paid peanuts. If you don't respect them and the principles under which they think the operation should be run, they'll quit (as happened here), and you won't be able to replace them.
posted by grouse at 7:40 AM on August 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


CHP-4-Lyfe
posted by Roger_Mexico at 7:47 AM on August 16, 2012


Liable -- Or spellchecking, apparently.

Liable is a perfectly good correctly spelled word.
posted by localroger at 7:57 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even high school newspapers are legally entitled to have students, not staff, review final content.
posted by bq at 8:23 AM on August 16, 2012


Liable is a perfectly good correctly spelled word.

You must admit, though, it is pretty finny coming a couple of
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:23 AM on August 16, 2012


(whoops)

... lines before a directive to eliminate "typos and other basic journalistic errors."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:24 AM on August 16, 2012


"finny" should be "funny." Where is my edit window?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:25 AM on August 16, 2012


Their Twitter account is probably suspended because of the flood of follows, which look like spam.

I'm not involved in the current controversy, but I am a former R&B editor-in-chief, managing editor, news editor, ed page editor, graphics editor, and reporter, although that goes back almost 25 years.

The R&B was for many years affiliated with UGA -- I have a close friend who worked for the UGA-affiliated version, out of Brooks Hall, in the 1930s. In 1980, after a number of stories the school's administration didn't like (I remember reading one about the ease with which someone could acquire a fake University ID, for instance), the paper was essentially kicked off campus.

A private company was created with a board of directors made up largely of Red and Black alumni, and a permanent business manager and office manager who could sign contracts, rent office space, etc. The board of directors selected the editor-in-chief, managing editor, and student advertising manager, who then staffed the paper from scratch every quarter.

In 2004, the paper moved into a $2 million new building (for former Dawgs, where the water tower used to stand on top of Baxter Hill, across from Brumby). In August 2011, they dropped publication frequency to weekly, and announced they would hire 3 non-student ad sales people, with base salaries of $30k (about $500/week before benefits) and a shot at $75k with commissions.

In the 80s, I remember being very unhappy on learning that the ad manager made something like $220/week, while I was making ~$70/week running the editorial side, so obviously the paper taught me some very important life lessons.

I don't know enough about the paper's current financials to know if the construction and professional hires are driving the need for more money and broader readership, but it wouldn't surprise me.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 8:30 AM on August 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


They called the paper the Red & Black?

Didn't they know how the novel ended?
posted by ocschwar at 8:31 AM on August 16, 2012


They called the paper the Red & Black?

Marius, you're no longer a child! I do not doubt you mean it well.
But now there is a higher call!
Who cares about your lonely soul?
We strive towards a larger goal.
Our little lives don't count at all!


I so want to see a student protest with "Do You Hear the People Sing?" now.
posted by inturnaround at 8:44 AM on August 16, 2012


Thanks for filling in some of the blanks, SubterraneanRedStateBlues. Did you join MeFi to give that context?

I remember a time when the Red & Black was actually pretty respectable, as local rags go.
posted by notashroom at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2012


WWFD? (What would Fink do?)
posted by dortmunder at 8:58 AM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


notashroom, I'm a long-time lurker, but this pushed me over the $5 cliff.

The Red and Black board isn't typically monolithic in its opinions, and the super-dumb draft memo was apparently from one board member, so it's possible the students are overreacting. I'm sure there will be more from the paper's side pretty quickly.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 9:03 AM on August 16, 2012


inturnaround, I thought the reference was to the Stendhal novel "The Red and the Black".
posted by Omon Ra at 9:09 AM on August 16, 2012


In 2004, the paper moved into a $2 million new building

Another thing I've seen a lot of papers do, only to be closing up shop a few years later. It's so often ego-driven.
posted by Miko at 9:33 AM on August 16, 2012


inturnaround, I thought the reference was to the Stendhal novel "The Red and the Black".

I got that, but I extrapolated it and made it about "Les Miserables".
posted by inturnaround at 9:35 AM on August 16, 2012


"Dans le fait, ces gens sages y exercent le plus ennuyeux despotisme; c'est à cause de ce vilain mot que le séjour des petites villes est insupportable pour qui a vécu dans cette grande république qu'on appelle Paris. La tyrannie de l'opinion, et quelle opinion! est aussi bête dans les petites villes de France, qu'aux Etats-Unis d'Amérique."
posted by MuffinMan at 9:38 AM on August 16, 2012


Y'know, I was my college newspaper's editor. It seemed like a natural fit. I mean, I'd worked for the paper since I was a freshman, I was a journalism major, I'd already been a daily beat reporter in my hometown and won an AP award at 19. I'd also just been awarded a fellowship to the Poynter Institute (an honor given to only 9 men and 9 women a year).

Except the school had a problem with me. See, I had hot pink hair. And I went to a private Catholic university, and they were certain - dead certain - that I was going to turn the student paper into some kind of lesbian feminist abortion-promoting propaganda tool to unhinge the student body into some kind of orgiastic riot of middle fingers directed not only at the school, but maybe the Pope himself.

All because I had pink hair. Oh, and the roommate I shared an apartment with off-campus happened to be pregnant out of wedlock, which was A Big Problem.

So for the first time ever, the school assembled a "review panel" that I had to speak with for several hours before they'd agree to allow me to take the job, after I'd already been given it by the previous editor and had 3 years of experience without a shred of evidence proving I'd ever stirred up any drama through the publication or otherwise on campus. The panel consisted of the editor in chief of the Dallas Morning News, former editor of the now-defunct Dallas Times-Herald, one of my professors, and someone from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Plus, of course, the school Provost and some concerned board members. It was like taking a Journalism final oral exam; they quizzed me on everything. But I got through it and they let me keep the job.

The one week I was sick and couldn't finish laying out an issue myself, my assistant editor decided it would be cute to take the [national comic strip's name redacted] panel for the week and covered the actual printed content with White-Out. Then, she carefully penned in a joke about our school in its place, and sent it off to the printer's.

When I got to the printer's at 5 a.m. to check the galleys, I stopped the paper's run for the week and ate the printing cost myself. It took 2 months' pay, which I desperately needed, to cover it, but I knew it would save us a lawsuit.

The same assholes who grilled me the summer before were so happy that I'd handled the situation properly, I ended up being invited to teach the Journalism Ethics class the final semester of my senior year. Which I did, for class credit.

That year taught me a lot of valuable life lessons, and though I stopped being a journalist the following year, the skills I learned then have benefited me throughout my career.

I weep for those who conflate blogging with reporting, and think of newspapers as nothing more than a medium for ad sales. It wasn't always like that... but money (and the power it brings) have hastened the demise of what was once a noble and difficult profession. Accountability has always been at the forefront of journalism, along with a willingness to do what's right instead of what's easy -- and I admire the Red & Black's staff for taking a stand. This is what they're supposed to do.

SubterraneanRedStateBlues, those numbers are quite impressive to me. As editor-in-chief, my pay in the earliest 90s was less than $3k for the whole year, before taxes. In a fight between disseminating information and bringing in revenue, the latter always wins.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:48 AM on August 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Poynter Institute is doing a pretty good job covering this.

The paper has responded, and the Red and Dead Twitter feed is back on the air.

The immediate conflict appears to be fear that the board wants to give the Editorial Director prior approval of editorial content. I think the editorial director is the latest evolution of a job that was initially called "writing coach" when the board created it (while I was editor with Bruce Swain the first; I think intervening writing coaches/editorial advisors have mostly been journalism faculty members). As faculty members, the R&B was not their first responsibility, and editors were likely to see them as an available resource for advice and a weekly critique, as I did, with a clear dedication to journalistic ethics and standards.

The current Editorial Director, Ed Morales, is (according to LinkedIn) a full-time R&B employee, and his background is largely in features and sports, which might not sit well with hard-journalism advocates.

I'm not sure where the 11 non-student positions come from; I've seen reference to the 3 ad sales people and Morales.

The students promise more after a 5 p.m. meeting today. The R&B will be holding an open house/Q&A session tomorrow at 2.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 11:11 AM on August 16, 2012


Today's academic institutions are businesses trying to compete against other traditional institutions of learning, online and alternative education, both public and privately funded. They have sales and marketing departments. In most cases, the student newspaper is an internal newsletter helping to promote the institution from within while simultaneously providing work experience to those engaged in the pursuits of journalism.

It's also a marketing brochure. Expect the business principals to set some guidelines beneficial to their business goals or start your own newspaper. It's just the reality of the situation.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:13 AM on August 16, 2012


In most cases, the student newspaper is an internal newsletter helping to promote the institution from within while simultaneously providing work experience to those engaged in the pursuits of journalism.

This is simply false. The majority of college-level student newspapers are not promotional newsletters, and their content mission is to provide journalism rather than promotion.

It's also a marketing brochure. Expect the business principals to set some guidelines beneficial to their business goals or start your own newspaper.

You are woefully misinformed here. As has been pointed out in the links and the comments above, the Red and Black is an entirely independent enterprise from the university. The business goals of the university are, and should be, irrelevant to the Red and Black or any other student newspaper.
posted by grouse at 11:19 AM on August 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


notashroom, I'm a long-time lurker, but this pushed me over the $5 cliff.

Welcome! A post pushed me over that same cliff some years back. I appreciate the additional information you've contributed here.
posted by notashroom at 11:27 AM on August 16, 2012


Student Press Law Center attorney: Why the University of Georgia Student Editors Resigned:
Students are supposed to learn to make editorial judgments. This why the College Media Association, the largest group of college media professionals in the country, has a code of ethics that would condemn precisely what the board of The Red and Black is proposing.

The Association's code of ethics directs:
Faculty, staff and other non-students who assume advisory roles with student media must remain aware of their obligation to defend and teach without censoring, editing, directing or producing. It should not be the media adviser's role to modify student writing or broadcasts, for it robs student journalists of educational opportunity and could severely damage their rights to free expression.
posted by grouse at 11:39 AM on August 16, 2012


My university a campus PR newsletter, separate from the student paper (though the paper wasn't independently funded).
posted by akgerber at 12:15 PM on August 16, 2012


(Shoves press pass in hatband)

At this hour (3 Eastern), apparently a number of former R&B editors are meeting with Publisher Harry Montevideo and others at the R&B offices.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 12:26 PM on August 16, 2012


During five years in Athens as a grad student then university employee, I was never impressed by the Red and Black. It wasn't a must-read. Some stronger outside guidance could potentially be helpful, but it sounds like these guidelines were pushing in the wrong direction. The quality of the Athens Banner-Herald has been steadily declining so there's definitely a void to be filled. Flagpole seems to be trying, look at their expanded online coverage between print editions and their hiring of Blake Aued (the Banner-Herald's former government reporter). It sounds like the the Red and Black might have enough funding to move in a similar direction, perhaps becoming more like the Missourian.
posted by PueExMachina at 2:10 PM on August 16, 2012


From the statement:
We expect our students to collaborate with our professional staff to establish and maintain standards for quality, develop plans for content and create quality journalism products, which engage our audience.
LOL, sorry, but this fistful of weasel words sums it all up nicely.
posted by rhizome at 2:43 PM on August 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


At this hour (3 Eastern), apparently a number of former R&B editors are meeting with Publisher Harry Montevideo and others at the R&B offices.

The meeting appears not to have gone all that well.
posted by rhizome at 2:47 PM on August 16, 2012


The students have demanded the removal of the director responsible for the "expectations" memo: Ed Stamper. His experience appears to be running a business "that provides risk management related information services and internal communication programs to large employers and the insurance industry" and as an ad salesman for the Journal-Constitution. And general manager in charge of non-editorial stuff of the Red and Black in 1979–1980.

So an ad sales guy with no editorial experience. Who would have guessed?
posted by grouse at 2:53 PM on August 16, 2012


Traditionally, R&B board members have fallen toward either end of the business/journalism spectrum, I think with an idea that one group would counterbalance the other.

Ed Stamper has been involved with the paper since 1977, and was on the board before 1985, and has always been one of the business-first people. I remember getting a mailed critique from him of one of our editions, and it was focused on questions of readership and product. There is nothing wrong with this; part of the attraction of newspapers is that they are general-audience media, and you've got to mix the sugar with the medicine.

Finding the right mix is what makes a great newspaper -- the New York Times offers Gina Kolata and David Pogue alongside Paul Krugman and David Sanger.

Mike Reiter is a senior in the J-School, and he interviewed Publisher Harry Montevideo on video (part 1, part 2) -- In Part 1, Harry explains that the draft memo was intended for Ed Morales as part of the process of defining the changes to his job (making him "editorial director" instead of "editorial adviser"), but Morales shared it with the student staff.

Here's Gawker's take.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 3:50 PM on August 16, 2012


posted by Omon Ra at 9:09 AM on 8/16
[+] [!]


In 2004, the paper moved into a $2 million new building

Another thing I've seen a lot of papers do, only to be closing up shop a few years later. It's so often ego-driven.
posted by Miko at 9:33 AM on 8/16
[+] [!]


Oh, I think The New York Times has another few years in it or so *cough*
posted by Bwithh at 9:33 PM on August 16, 2012


Reasoning from an exceptional case, though.
posted by Miko at 10:17 PM on August 16, 2012


More from the Student Press Law Center, with some detail on Ed Stamper's increased role since May and a brief look at the paper's financials (they're fairly healthy, enough to have given the publisher a nearly 60 percent pay raise between 2010 and 2011). I'm following the R&B alumni Facebook group, and haven't seen anyone siding with the board there.

The students have started reporting stories again, and publishing on the RedandDead.com weblog: This morning, there's a story on a flea market benefiting the Botanical Garden, a season preview of UGA's club hockey team, a review of the Welfare Liners' album High on a Hilltop, a feature on Kerrie Anne Lloyd's groundbreaking Kitty Cam research, and a couple of other features, an editorial column, and two letters to the editor.

For comparison, here's the actual published Red & Black that came out yesterday (Facebook photo, sorry).
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 6:05 AM on August 17, 2012


What's most disturbing on this thread is that so many people think Blogs are truth. Blogs are OPINIONS. Unfortunately, there's not an unbiased source of news out there, so you are left to read many different opinions and try to parse the truth out of them.
posted by Kokopuff at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2012


The publisher of this non-profit student newspaper makes almost $190,000.

"According to the company’s 2011 IRS Form 990, the most recently available report, the paper posted close to $1.6 million in revenue and a little over $1 million in expenses between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011. The paper owns a building valued at nearly $2 million with no mortgage, and has about $5 million in assets, as of its most recent IRS filing.

Montevideo was paid $189,545 in salary and other compensation, according to the 990 form. That is an increase of almost $70,000 from the previous year, according to the paper’s 2010 IRS form."

http://www.splc.org/news/newsflash.asp?id=2431
posted by feste at 7:56 AM on August 17, 2012


189,545

So, the publisher's salary is equivalent to roughly 30 percent of the paper's net profit for last year. Is that standard?
posted by dortmunder at 8:11 AM on August 17, 2012


So, the publisher's salary is equivalent to roughly 30 percent of the paper's net profit for last year. Is that standard?

I don't think it makes sense to compare non-profit employee compensation with profits, since profits are not a goal of a non-profit organization. But he is still making $189,545 to run an institution with $1.6 million in revenue. When I was at Texas Student Publications in 2003, we paid the Director substantially less than that to run a larger, much more complex operation (which included a radio station, a television station, a yearbook, and a printing press), with $3.1 million in revenue.
posted by grouse at 9:08 AM on August 17, 2012


What's most disturbing on this thread is that so many people think Blogs are truth. Blogs are OPINIONS.

Blogging is a medium — like newspapers, books, tv and radio — that can be filled with pure fiction, objective facts or anything in between.
posted by brentajones at 9:20 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Pictures of a scuffle between the Red and Black publisher and a student reporter are circulating on Twitter.
posted by rewil at 11:57 AM on August 17, 2012


I have a tiny question no one really has answered for me. Is it really appropriate for an executive employee of a 503-C non profit corporation to also be on the board of directors, as treasurer?
posted by Classic Diner at 2:37 PM on August 17, 2012


Classic Diner, Montevideo is an ex officio board member without voting privileges. On the other hand, as the ranking permanent employee, he has a great deal of influence with the Board of Directors, and a decades-long relationship with most of them.

Montevideo posted to Facebook early this morning, explaining that his salary number for 2011 is artificially inflated by delayed bonus payments, and that in the 2012-2013 budget prepared a few weeks ago, he has volunteered to reduce his base to $90,000 (with 25 percent bonus potential), which is generally in line with a number of similar positions, according to the Student Press Law Center. Harry also has apologized in a letter to Josh Buce, the Grady Newsource reporter he overzealously tried to eject from yesterday's meeting.

Meanwhile, former editor-in-chief Polina Marinova and former managing editor Julia Carpenter have announced they'll reapply for their positions, as the board is requiring. A number of alumni on the Facebook group have prepared a letter to the board suggesting a "full amnesty, restoring all reapplying staff members to their positions immediately and without question", with some suggesting the requirement to reapply echoes union-busting tactics.

Chuck Reece, a Red and Black alum who was communications director for former Georgia governor Zell Miller, spoke at the meeting yesterday, and has posted his prepared comments.

Weird sideline: Michael Koretzky of the Society for Professional Journalists sent Katherine Tippins to the meeting, and based on her notes posted his comments on the SPJ regional weblog "Southern Drawl", but he says the SPJ president, John Ensslin, made him pull the post, which he turned around and posted to his personal Journoterrorist blog.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 7:23 PM on August 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


SubterraneanRedStateBlues, thanks, I didn't know he couldn't vote.
posted by Classic Diner at 9:09 AM on August 19, 2012


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