[UPDATED] Journalism prof’s criticism of student’s story sparks ‘digital schoolyard brawl’

Letter to Romenesko
“Disappointed UCF grad” writes: “Thought I should bring this to your attention. …The University of Central Florida’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter has a public Facebook group. A UCF professor made a post in the group trashingflorida the student newspaper (The Central Florida Future) and a journalism student. The thread then escalated into a total sh*tstorm, with professors personally attacking students (former/current) and even a fellow professor.

“I want this to be brought to your attention because I feel that professors who belittle their students in a public forum shouldn’t be professors. If something is a reoccurring problem, then why should they blame the students? Shouldn’t the professors do a better job teaching? Everyone needs to step their game up, but the UCF professors seem to think they do a good enough job and that it’s okay to sh*t on their students in a public forum. It’s not right.”

The prof’s post:


Brunson wrote on Sunday that he regrets the hard feelings caused by this “digital schoolyard brawl between alums and faculty.” He adds: “I will continue to vigorously praise, encourage and criticize whenever I believe it’s warranted, helpful and constructive. But I will do so in my classes, during my office hours and on my own personal social media channels” — and not on the UCF Society of Professional Journalists Facebook page.

* “This is the worst lead I’ve read on a speech story in a long time” (facebook.com)
* “I’ve been reflecting this weekend on Thursday’s rant-turned-rumble (facebook.com)

* Update: “When you write for publication, just as when you sing, act, or play a musical instrument publicly, you open yourself to public criticism,” and other comments from my Facebook wall. (facebook.com/JimRomenesko)

* Update 2: Brunson has let me know that he criticized the lede to a news story about the school president’s speech and not the op-ed piece about the speech, which I had linked. “Also, it appears that the story in question has since been updated and revised with a new lead, so it won’t help to link to the ‘offending’ story because the problem in question appears to have been resolved,” he writes.

A reader sent the original lede: