Stifling the student press at the University of Georgia

The “professionals” who have wrested control of the U. Ga. student paper from its editors don’t seem to be very familiar with the English language.

No doubt the governing board of Red and Black, the student newspaper of the University of Georgia (which Eddie DeBoer at Balloon Juice calls a “a no-bullshit great student newspaper”) is within its legal rights in subjecting the student editors of the newspaper to a paid non-student “editorial director,” just as the students were within their rights to walk out in protest. But given the evidence that the governing board, or the people who prepare documents for them, are semi-literate and stupid, it’s hard to have much confidence. “Publisher” Harry Montivideo’s video is about as bad as the document.

“Create quality journalism product that engages our audience”? Gag me with a spoon! That’s not as funny as the assertion that “we will not tolerate liable,” but it’s pretty bad just the same.

What’s even more depressing, of course, is that the takeover of journalist enterprises by people who don’t know how to write or to gather news, and who think in management-consulting buzzwords, goes far beyond the ranks of the student press.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

14 thoughts on “Stifling the student press at the University of Georgia”

  1. Replacing “Libel” with “Liable” is one of those delicious typos that reveals the mind of the author.

    1. The revelatory “delicious typo” that happens to me, since I’m in the industry, is typing “airlien” for “airline”

    2. When, on a blog like this, I type “I red it in the NY Times” it is not a typo, it is a deliberate misspelling with the intent to clarify what would be perfectly clear in speaking, but could be an ambiguous tense in writing.

      Typing liable when you mean libel is not a typo, it’s a misspelling. It’s deliberate, but it has no intent. It simply means you didn’t know the correct spelling of the word you meant to type.

    1. According to several people on the Balloon Juice thread, Red&Black has been off-campus and independent since 1980. This isn’t a fight with the university administration, but with their own board.

  2. I wonder just who gave money to the University of Georgia recently on condition that the Red and Black was gagged? Someone must have paid to play, so to speak.

  3. Unfortunately (and speaking as a former student journalist who has followed these things for a long time), Mark’s right that the University has this authority. Courts have consistently held that (barring real corporate independence of the paper, as suggested by Betsy) the University is the publisher, even if no University funds are used…and the publisher can do almost any damned thing. But this is outrageous on its face.

    1. Yep, that’s what it says on the byline at the linked site.

      So Mark committed a typo. The kind of thing he might cite to justify hanging a label of “semi-literate and stupid” on the author. Hmm…. ironic!

      Thanks for a morning chuckle.

  4. Off Topic: Keep running the piece about how Romney’s business “success” was often just like a Goodfellas bust out.

    If EVERYBODY in society behaved like this, we’d have no society. It’d be a free-for-all, with no trust, no friends, no community, no safety.

  5. “The “Red and Black” has been off-campus for a long time, but these issues have also dogged it for a long time. No doubt a new bunch of little College Republicans will be found to replace the former staff. Back when I lived in Athens, for 22 years, Harry Montevideo was exactly what he appears to be in the video. Some things never change. Except the current president of UGA has announced his retirement (too bad the NCAA didn’t fall for him when they had a chance). In this case, it is much better to risk the devil you don’t know…

  6. One other thing. I just looked at the “Red and Black” Form 990 from 2011. Harry Montevideo made over $173,000 from an organization “worth” about $5,000,000 if I understand the form. Student journalists made zero, as in $0.00. Yep. That’s the Harry I knew of. Someone sees a large asset ripe for the picking.

  7. Oops. My apologies. Turns out some of the writers and editors do get paid something, but not much more than minimum wage. Or so it seems. My point about Harry’s salary and supplemental compensation stands, as does the point about the asset. The R&B has a “captive” market of thousands of mostlyfreshmen and sophomores and fraternity/sorority members who have in the aggregate lots of disposable income. The advertisers know what they are doing.

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