The Red & Black bills itself as an “independent student newspaper,” but I’m not sure if all those words apply tonight.
From the Athens Banner-Herald’s Online Athens, Red & Black student staffers walk out:
The student editorial staff of the University of Georgia’s The Red & Black newspaper walked out Wednesday evening after a non-student was named editorial director with final say on all editorial content.
The Red & Black’s student editor-in-chief, Polina Marinova, along with other top student editors and staff members, walked out after Ed Morales, who had been the paper’s editorial adviser and then became editorial director, was given full editorial control of the newspaper.
“The students have lost control of the paper, and a student newspaper is supposed to be run by students,” Amanda Jones, design editor for The Red & Black, said in a phone interview. “We’re losing power while they are hiring permanent employees that are not students. We are losing control. At this point, every single top staffer walked out.”
The new site Red and Dead has published a letter from the (former?) editor in chief that reads in part:
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 Red & Black has covered the University of Georgia community since 1893 and has been independent of the University since 1980. The newspaper has always been a student-run operation, but recently, we began feeling serious pressure from people who were not students. 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.”
The Red & Black is a 501c3, according to this About Us page, which gives a brief history of the paper (founded in 1893) and includes a list of the board of directors.
I don’t know enough details about the reasons behind recent board decisions to say much else right now, but it’s fair to say that the board now has a public relations crisis on its hands. The Red and Dead Facebook page, which was created about an hour ago, already has over 800 likes. There’s also some interesting discussion in The Red and Black independent student newspaper alumni Facebook group.
Even though The Red & Black is an independent 501c3, this obviously is going to be a PR problem for UGA and its excellent journalism program.