First, I again re-iterate on behalf of the board our deepest apologies for the misunderstandings which have brought all of you here. I hope a few brief statements will allow us to bring resolution to several matters.

 

The student editor has always had the final editorial decision responsibility for our news content. That is still the case. The professional staff who work on the editorial side of this newspaper are intended to be coaches and advisers only.

 

Board member Ed Stamper, earlier today tendered his resignation and his statement of apology is available to all of you.

 

The Board of the Red and Black selects the student Editor in Chief and the Managing Editor. We welcome all applicants for those currently vacant positions, including those who recently resigned.

 

We appreciate the passion for excellence in journalism displayed by the students. That same passion for excellence and love of The Red and Black motivates our board.  We look forward to continuing to provide news coverage to this great university for many years to come in our printed product, our magazine and our digital first format.

(14) comments

jakem100
jakem100

Victory.

UGAGrad83
UGAGrad83

While everyone appears, at least from a distance, to be singing KumBaYa at this point, I encourage the students soon to again be in charge to watch their backs, and to be on the lookout for "control creep." That is an effort by whoever was the impetus behind these changes to subtly, slowly, less dramatically, but just as assuredly, reinstitute them over time. It's a favorite trick of those who want to assert their views over an organization and are foiled in that effort the first time.

Their opinions probably have not changed, and their desire to impose them may have only been strengthened by this episode, whether because of the strength of their beliefs, their embarrassment or simply bull-headed stubborness.

The students will have to be on the top of their games. As journalists, they will have to take extra care to turn out a high-quality product, because the sharp knives of some will certainly be out for them if they slip up. And, they will have to be ever more aware that all the mines may not have been cleared in the waters in which they swim, regardless of whether they have mastered their strokes.

Let's hope that the Red and Black is back, truly as a student newspaper befitting a University with a great School of Journalism.

realinfo
realinfo

It's gonna be hilarious when the staff comes back, the paper has no readers because the articles are awful, and the Red and Black goes out of business.

realinfo
realinfo

It's also funny how suddenly everyone cares about the Red and Black. Less the 15% of the student body actually reads it, but now that there is controversy, everyone and their cousin has an opinion on the situation which they have no clue about. Stop pretending to care, nobody wants to read this paper because the majority of the "news" is completely irrelevant.

l0bl0
l0bl0

It's nice that the students are fighting for what they believed to be ethical journalism, but they do need to consider the fact that their actions are now plastered all over the internet and may not be interpreted the same way by potential employers. As a teenager I worked at a restaurant and chose to quit rather abruptly but discussed it with one of my managers first and thought I was leaving on rather good terms - that didn't stop the other managers from badmouthing me to any other employer in the city over it which kept me from getting another job for 2 1/2 years. And that was before employers could just Google you. The way your leave your work positions can have lasting effects on your career.

Sure these students may say they were opposed to new restrictions, but the world of journalism is full of editors restricting what you can & can't write so that explanation may not go over so well when applying to work at a new publication. It's a cutthroat industry, and if you won't play by their rules someone else will. Don't burn your bridges when you're about to graduate and enter a whole new ball game of journalism.

Athensugaalum
Athensugaalum

I am glad to see this outcome, however, I think it is appropriate that Harry and the Board OFFER the students their positions back-no application needed. It was due to your mishandling of the situation that they felt pushed to resign. You have started to repair the damage you caused. Complete the task.

ThinkAboutItFromAllSides
ThinkAboutItFromAllSides

Wow, what a deed of honor. Your actions were picked up by the Associated Press all over our country - so the United States of America can see once again how full the state of Georgia is of ignorant morons - and you still hold true to your irreprehensible actions. Ridiculous. Those in power positions in this town need to be reminded that PUBLIC EDUCATION BELONGS TO THE STUDENTS. When did you forget that? You're only doing the right thing because your hands have been forced. All members of the Board should be open to new applicants!

ThinkAboutItFromAllSides
ThinkAboutItFromAllSides

Clarification - all Board member positions should be immediately vacated!

nocensorship
nocensorship

Everyone but the students have disgraced themselves enough; the scum can't stay. Run these POS out of their offices and bring back the editors and writers.

Karen
Karen

If the Board is really trying to correct what is wrong, bright and early tomorrow it will publish the by-laws online here. Yes, the by-laws that say students are supposed to be included on the board. Remember those -- the bylaws the board never followed?

Such bad form not to simply reinstate the former editors -- as if the Board didn't CAUSE this problem! Talk about punishing the victim. And why is it taking so long to hear the results of their re-application? Who is putting out next week's paper in the mean time? Polina and the others better be back on Monday! The world will be watching, you know....

It will also be interesting to see what happens re: The Trouble with Harry. Even his apology to the Newsource guy sounded hollow and blamed the victim.... more like an abusive husband who says, "Sorry I beat you up. But I wouldn't have done it if you hadn't mouthed off at me." Surely the board will be embarrassed to keep paying him three times what his counterparts at other college papers and non-profits are making. But perhaps there will be an easy way out for them if the Newsource kid presses charges.

And 10b10, you are so wrong. These students will have media outlets fighting for the chance to hire them BECAUSE of what they did. Prior restraint (censorship prior to publication by an outside entity) is a completely different thing than having typos corrected or even having a story pulled by your supervising editor. Freedom of the press has actually been defined by experts as freedom from prior restraint --- really the only acceptable exception is in cases that jeopardize national security, and even then the standard is high. These kids are heroes to their fellow journalists, not troublemakers.

SEC Newcomer
SEC Newcomer

Mr. Middleton did not like it when City Hall made decisions behind closed doors..

Perhaps it only upsets Mr. Middleton when OTHER people make
closed door decisions...


Untitled Article
www.times-herald.com [cached]
"There's language there that you can latch onto, but the law was not intended to allow closure for a general discussion on the criteria of a position," said Dr. Kent Middleton, head of the journalism department at UGA's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communications.Middleton is a longtime professor of communications law at UGA.The city council closed a meeting last Tuesday for several reasons, one of which was to discuss personnel matters.
...
Middleton disagreed with Sears and said council's closing of the session under the circumstances Sears described was a violation of the state's open meetings law.
...
"Personnel is not a magic closure," Middleton said.
...
Middleton added that if the law intends for the more critical matters to be discussed in public and the law specifically spells out that filling vacancies in the public agency are required to be open, then logically vacancies for city staff positions should also be in the open."I guess that if they have to, by law, fill their own vacancies in the open, then surely they have to keep meetings open to fill their city manager position."Sears argued that when council talks about hiring, the law specifically indicates those discussions can be closed but Middleton said it's a misapplied interpretation.
...
Middleton said many public entities misinterpret the intention of the law and he reminds the public that the intention is multi-fold."These laws are not written for the newspaper, and exemptions aren't written for the convenience of the city council members," he said."The law and its exemptions are ... written by the General Assembly for the public interest so that meetings are generally open ... with narrowly confined exemptions to protect the fairness and privacy of public employees."Middleton added that action that is taken as a result of an illegally closed meeting can be voided, according to the state's open meetings law.

TexasDawg
TexasDawg

@l0bl0 as an editor at a newspaper who was hiring powers, I watched this whole thing unfold and I can tell you without a doubt I'd have no problem hiring any of the students who walked out.

After reading the memo which caused the walkout, these students should be commended for making a stand for journalism, something not enough journalists have done lately and one of the major reasons our newspapers have been on the decline.

In my opinion, the only ones leaving this situation are the board members who came across as old and out of touch with journalism. Whether Mr. Stamper ever meant for that memo to be seen or not should not matter. The memo showed the true colors of what he was trying to do, and in turn the board, since Mr. Stamper was appointed by the board to do all of this).

A newspaper is charged with reporting the news, whether it is good, bad of indifferent. And anyone who works with a news organization who doesn't know the difference between "liable" and "libel" has no business with the organization in the first place!

l0bl0
l0bl0

@TexasDawg So you would rather hire people who - upon receiving a memo from you they don't like - would throw a tantrum, walk out of the office, and set up social media accounts within the hour to put your publication on blast than people who would come to you and say "I have a problem with X & Y and here's why. I think you should change it." Then if you refuse to bend they'd hand in their resignation and try to leave the organization as disagreeing professionals.

To me this only demonstrated that the students are still young, emotional, and rash. They ultimately got what they wanted, but I don't believe they handled it in the best way. And unless they had some major talents to back up their snap judgments they would have a hard time finding a job in the world that I live in. Maybe it's different in journalism.

TexasDawg
TexasDawg

First of all, they never would have received THAT memo from me, because, I like most journalists I know would never allow that to happen. What was in that memo had nothing to do with journalism, it was BS. It was written by a man who obviously knew nothing about journalism or should I say "journalism"?
Second, you need to know the whole back story, this was more than just one memo, the memo was just the tipping point.

As an editor, I don't have a problem with my reporters questioning me if they are asking good legitimate questions. I did it when I was a reporter, yeah it ticked off some editors, but they weren't very good editors either. Journalists are a different breed of people than your average accountant or businessman. A good journalist is a cynic. He/she isn't afraid to ask someone a tough question, that's their job.

Like I've said I've had reporters question me about a story and why we were doing it. It was discussed, I made my points and gave the reasons why it needed to be done and it made the story better. This happens a lot in good newsrooms across the country.

Yeah, maybe they were acting young, emotional and rash, but from everything I've read about the situation, Mr. Stamper's actions and his "focus groups," nothing was going to change unless something drastic happened. That's what they did, and it seemed to work.

My personal feelings on this is the board of directors only made themselves look worse and, in turn, made the students look a lot better in this by not commenting and staying quiet.

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