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Daily Archives: September 26, 2012

Bryan College sent this statement from President Dr. Stephen Livesay about his decision to order the student newspaper to kill its story about a professor arrested for attempted child exploitation. “In hindsight, this may have been a mistake,” says Livesay.

Our goal at Bryan College is to teach our students to put Christ above all so that we can make a difference in today’s world. It means doing the right thing.

This is why we we requested that our student paper not publish information regarding the resignation of a faculty member, Dr David Morgan, this past July. Dr. Morgan is not related to a staff member here at the college of the same name.

Dr. Stephen Livesay

Here was our thinking at the time, which we communicated to the editorial staff at the Triangle. My cabinet and I agreed that since the faculty member resigned on his own initiative, that the events surrounding the resignation occurred during the summer when students were not on campus, and that the resignation involved charges being filed, but no proof of guilt (legal matters are not the expertise of the college administration), the wisest course of action for the college and our students would be to not issue a statement about the resignation.

However, this week the student editor of the Triangle elected to write and distribute such a story.

As the Triangle is produced as part of a class and students receive academic credit for their participation, the Triangle falls under the supervision and authority of the administration. This being the case, we did not believe the college should put itself or its publications in the position of commenting on pending criminal or judicial matters.

In hindsight, this may have been a mistake. We believed we were doing the right thing to protect the privacy of a man charged, but not convicted, of a crime. We have had no reports of any inappropriate behavior involving Dr. Morgan and our students, faculty or staff during his two years at Bryan. A thorough background check before he was hired showed a clean record.

If we have upset or offended anyone relating to this situation, we apologize. It was not our intent. Our intent was to look at the situation as Christians and do what was right. As humans, we are fallible. What we can do is learn from our mistakes. Ultimately, we want all involved to know that we tried to do what we believed was right. Going forward, we have learned from this incident as we continue to carry out our mission to put Christ above all and make a difference in today’s world.

UPDATE: Will Alex Green continue as editor of the newspaper? I asked.

“We have no plans to remove him,” said Livesay.

Was Green told by somebody at the college to call me on Tuesday and ask to have the post removed?

“Absolutely not.”

Earlier stories:
* Editor self-publishes story after its spiked by college president
* Will Bryan College dismiss editor for self-publishing story about prof’s arrest?

“Today” show executive producer Jim Bell denies reports that Matt Lauer was responsible for Ann Curry being booted as co-anchor. “He is the host and does not have management responsibility,” Bell tells Bill Carter. “It was not his call. That was my call.”

Bell adds that it’s “absolutely not true” that Lauer made a change on the co-anchor role a quid pro quo for his re-signing with the embattled morning show.

* “Today” executive producer says Curry’s ouster was his call (nytimes.com)
* “We have the right team in place now,” says Bell (hollywoodreporter.com)

Alex Green

On Tuesday, two hours after I posted the story about Bryan College student editor Alex Green publishing a story on his own after it was killed by the school president, I got a call from the young journalist.

Nervous and apologetic, he asked if I could remove the post. He said he was concerned about how it reflected on Bryan, a Christian liberal arts school in Dayton, Tenn.

I told him that I don’t unpublish items and explained why; he said he understood.

This morning I talked to Bryan College Triangle adviser John Carpenter and asked: Are you aware that Alex Green called and asked me to remove the post?

The adviser said he was.

Did you or someone else at the college tell him to make that call? I asked.

“I can’t comment on that,” Carpenter said.

OK, that answers that question, I thought. (Someone else I talked to this morning believes the editor “has been guilted” by the college president to believe he did something wrong by publishing a story about a professor charged with trying to hook up with a minor. Green hasn’t returned a message that I left this morning.)

I had other questions for the newspaper adviser, but he declined to answer them. (“It’s a horrible thing to do to a fellow journalist, but I think I have to do that.”)

Meanwhile, this is what one of my tipsters reports:

Dr. Livesay, the president of the college, held a “press conference” of sorts [on Tuesday afternoon] with the students and faculty where he read a short statement and took questions for about an hour. However, he quickly called it “family time” and demanded that there be no camera recordings. The Bryan Triangle staff were set up to film the proceedings, but were required to take down their equipment. Dr. Livesay said that the issue was a private one and should be dealt with as such.

As of right now, the administration has not answered any questions regarding the type of punitive action that Alex Green may face. Speculation among students is that he will be forced to publish an “approved” apology on the Triangle website and “step down” from his position as Editor-in-Chief.

UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed account of Livesay’s meeting.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press quotes college spokesman Tom Davis — he’s also a Times Free Press correspondent — saying Green’s story about the professor’s arrest shouldn’t have been published because it contained unverified facts. The student journalist used public records for his reporting.

Messages I left for Davis and president Livesay haven’t been returned.

* Student’s story on professor sex scandal causes uproar (timesfreepress.com)
* College editor self-publishes story after president spikes it (jimromenesko.com)

Warren Buffett

The Tampa Tribune reports Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has a 16.6% ownership stake in Media General with the recent purchase of 4.65 million Class A common shares. “The stock purchase gives Berkshire a significant say in how Media General operates as a broadcast and digital business,” notes Rick Mayer.

Buffett bought 63 Media General newspapers in May.

* Berkshire Hathaway purchases Media General shares (tbo.com) | (bizjournals.com)

* Latest Pew report includes this tidbit: “Residents of smaller towns are the most likely to worry about what would happen if the local newspaper no longer existed.” (pewinternet.org)
* Des Moines Register explains why its story about a troubled teen “with so much promise” didn’t mention that the boy is an editorial writer’s son. (dmcityview.com)

Cover of the day

* BBC causes an uproar by reporting a political view of the queen. (nytimes.com)
* Why BBC staffers can’t keep their hands off each other. (telegraph.co.uk)
* What happened at the Seattle Weekly? asks one of the founders. (crosscut.com)
* Fox affiliate in Cleveland is duped by a phony Meat Loaf. (newsvine.com)
* WSJ and NYT are waiting for WSJ. editor Deborah Needleman to make up her mind. (wwd.com)
* “The Boston Globe is not your problem in this race, Congressman. You are.” (thephoenix.com)
* Mathew Ingram: What a plagiarism epidemic says about the decline of print. (gigaom.com)
* Muslim journalist at Daily Iowan writes FAQ about her face veil. (dailyiowan.com)
* Philly papers assign #2 exec to deal with close-to-expiring union contracts. (philly.com)
* “Wealthy people have reason to be wary of social media,” reports WSJ. (wsj.com)
* Send memos, links, news tips and typo alerts to jim@jimromenesko.com | Follow Romenesko on Twitter

Allison Silver — Politico’s New York-based opinion editor since 2010 — has been named executive editor of opinion at Thomson Reuters. “Her big shoes are being filled — temporarily — by managing editor Bill Nichols on a fill-in basis while we ponder our long-term choices about opinion,” Politico editor-in-chief John Harris writes in his memo announcing Silver’s departure.

Read the memo after the jump.

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