University of Georgia newspaper staff quits after non-student named editorial director

Top editorial staffers at the University of Georgia’s Red and Black resigned Wednesday after their adviser, who isn’t a UGA student, was given final say on all editorial content in the independent campus newspaper.

“For years, students have had final approval of the paper followed by a critique by the adviser only after articles were published,” writes Polina Marinova, who resigned as editor-in-chief on Wednesday. “However, from now on, that will not be the case.”

She adds:

Polina Marinova

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.”

I took great offense to that, but the board member just told me this is simply a draft. But one thing that would not change is that the former editorial adviser, now the editorial director, would see all content before it is published online and in print.

Marinova writes on Twitter that “it wasn’t easy to do what we did at The Red & Black today, but we did it because we love journalism.”

Ed Morales, the adviser who was given editorial control of the student paper, has worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and Palm Beach Post, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Dan Reimold of College Media Matters blasts the newspaper’s board of directors for “reducing the students to cogs in a machine they don’t control.”

Forget digital first. A college paper must be STUDENT FIRST. Disregarding that sacred fact is so tone-deaf it makes me wonder whether you know anything about journalism at all.

* Student staff walks out at UGA’s Red and Black (ajc.com)
* Red and Black student staffers walk out (onlineathens.com)
* Letter from the former editor-in-chief (redanddead.com)
* Letter to Red and Black board: What the heck were you thinking? (collegemediamatters.com)
* Read comments on the Red and Black alumni Facebook page

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