Saturday, August 18, 2012

Is the University of Georgia student newspaper "misunderstanding" over? I doubt it

Why do I get the feeling that we haven't read the end of the story about the University of Georgia's independent newspaper, the Red & Black?

As you'll remember from a couple of days ago, the newspaper's board decided to shift power from students to a professional. Students walked out and quickly created their own website and began posting to Twitter.. The board quickly apologized, calling the contretemps a "misunderstanding," and invited the former staff members to apply for their old jobs. Stories, including a nice roundup by the Associated Press, said the problems seemed to be "resolved" with the board's apology and discussions with students.

It's clear there were misunderstandings but they were all over the place. The board attempted to change the way the newspaper was run, apparently without consulting the students. The students resisted by walking out. The ensuing furor continued, including the board's head and a student journalist for the university's television station physically clashing.

I still don't think the board gets it. Students value their publications, and will demand their views be considered. At the same time, students sometimes are quite short-sighted about issues, and the board's duty is to think long-term. Stay tuned.

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