Red and Black Statement Cites 'Miscommunication' as Resignation Flap Continues
The independent student-run newspaper at the University of Georgia is dealing with the exits of top editors in a policy dispute.
The Red and Black, the embattled student-run newspaper at the University of Georgia, has issued a statement Thursday that cites "failure of clarity" with its student journalists, some of whom resigned Wednesday.
"For a communications company, we clearly have been at the center of a great deal of miscommunication during the past 24 hours," Treasurer and Publisher Harry Montevideo said in a statement posted on the website Thursday.
The paper's top student editors resigned in a policy dispute with its board of directors, which recently issued some editorial guidelines that did not sit well with the editors. Also, the editors cited the addition of some staff professionals as additional examples of unwelcome control by the board.
Montevideo's statement continued:
"In an effort to provide a better product for our readers of print and digital news and to provide better training for our student journalists, The Red & Black recently decided to add additional professionals to both the editorial and business staff, half of whom are part time.
The Red & Black does not plan to have these professionals assume the role of our student Editor in Chief. The editorial director is a counselor, teacher, mentor, coordinator and manager. The editorial director is charged with helping students make smart content decisions prior to publication, particularly on stories, which involve issues of libel or standards of quality and ethics. It is not, nor has it ever been the intention of the board to censor student content.
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."
The Red and Black has been independent of the university since 1980, and its office building is not on university property. Its board of directors has no official connection with the university, although UGA journalism professor Kent Middleton is on the board.
Montevideo's statement added: "The Red & Black is still and will remain an independent student media organization."
Board members were to meet Thursday in Athens to deal with the editorial resignations.