Our last statement

August 20, 2012

Joint statement from Red and Black student editors, board and publisher:

Members of the Red and Black board welcome the reinstatement of Editor-in-Chief Polina Marinova and Managing Editor Julia Carpenter. We look forward to the editors and their staff resuming production of one of the nation’s top student news organizations.

As a board, we reiterate our commitment to student journalism and The Red and Black as a training ground. We want to be clear that students have editorial control over the contents of our publications with no prior review.

As a board we are committed to adding students to our membership as provided in our by-laws and discussed during our summer meeting.

We also assert our continued confidence in Publisher Harry Montevideo and the professional staff he has assembled. We added to that staff recently to improve the learning experience we offer our student journalists.

We students dedicate ourselves to timely, accurate, fair and ethical journalism for which The Red and Black is known and which is essential to the University community. As journalists, it went against our instinct and training to walk out of a newsroom on deadline. We extend an apology to those who were adversely affected.

All of us – student, staff and board – plan to move forward in a new era of open communication.

Elliott Brack, Chair of Red and Black Board

Melita Easters, Vice Chair of Red and Black Board

Polina Marinova, Red and Black Editor in Chief

Julia Carpenter, Red and Black Managing Editor

Harry Montevideo, Red and Black Publisher

Our continuing concerns

We realize there has been a lull in the information flow and we apologize. We are going to continue to be transparent and keep interested parties informed via Twitter, Facebook and our website.

While we are excited about the discussion with the board on Friday and thankful for their openness, we realize nothing has been put into writing yet, including two of our three concerns. We have heard not anything specific from the board on prior review although Ed Morales said on Friday it would not be enforced. We were informed of two student seats on the board, but have since learned these seats do not have voting rights (being ex officio seats). Also, we have yet to receive a copy of the bylaws, which we were told would be given to us. We are entitled to these documents since they are public record and The Red & Black is required by law to make them available at the institution’s headquarters. The board has changed the title of Ed Morales from editorial director to editorial adviser but his duties have not been changed.

Saying this, we are confident the board will resume the open and frank discussion began Friday starting tomorrow and we look forward to resolving these concerns, starting with the election of Polina and Julia to their prior positions of EIC and ME. The pair will interview at 4 p.m. tomorrow. We haven’t been told which board members or how many will be attending the interview.

Statement after our meeting today

Tomorrow afternoon, former Editor in Chief Polina Marinova and former Managing Editor Julia Carpenter will meet members of The Red & Black’s Board of Directors to reapply for their positions. Heading into that conversation, the former staff has worked to resolve some remaining concerns about transparency, including obtaining the organization’s bylaws — which have not yet materialized. We are hoping to have the bylaws in the morning, prior to Marinova and Carpenter’s meeting with the Board; and that the bylaws will settle several issues regarding student representation and board member term limits. Beyond that, the evening has been spent discussing solutions for the coming weeks: how to lay the foundation for and encourage a candid, active discussion between all parties regarding The Red & Black’s future.

 

We are confident that the real conversation starts tomorrow.

RAW: Grady Newsource Reporter removal from Red & Black

This article is from Grady Newsource:

“The incident that broke out at The Red & Black this afternoon involved Publisher Harry Montevideo and Grady Newsource Reporter Joshua Buce.

Buce first arrived at the paper’s office to compose a story about the advertised “open house discussion.” Visitors and other reporters came from as far as Virginia to attend. Red & Black officials told Buce and others that an official statement would be made at 2:00 p.m. Buce left the building to gather shots of the editorial staff arriving for the meeting. He later re-entered the building and made his way upstairs…”

Read the rest here.

Harry’s statement

This statement was posted by Harry Montevideo in The Red & Black Independent Newspaper Alumni Group on Facebook following photos posted on Twitter showing an altercation between Montevideo and a student reporter from Grady’s News Source:

“There was an “Open House” in our upstairs office, strictly for UGA students interested in working at The Red and Black. That was communicated by myself, to all the media representatives gathered in our lobby. I advised the media, that due to the number of interested parties, the statement would be read outside our west entrance, but until that time, they were welcome to stay inside the air conditioned lobby.

The individual in question, was asked repeatedly by myself and several of our other staff members, to remain downstairs with rest of the media (most all of whom complied). He and one other media representative made their way upstairs. After being advised of this by staff, I asked the first individual to turn off his camera and return downstairs and the first individual complied. I made the same request to the second individual and he became confrontational. After repeated verbal requests for him to turn off his camera and make some progress to the stairs, I began to escort him towards the doorway. As a result of either my assistance or his resistance, we both fell to the floor. When I regained my balance I stood up backed away and he exited the building, but only after a good deal of verbal assault towards myself.

I asked our business manager to call 911 just prior to him leaving, an ACC police officer arrived shortly thereafter and asked if we need any further assistance. I explained to the office what had happened and that the individual in had left the premises. I don’t believe the officer filled out a report.”

Statement following today’s meeting

We, the former staff of The Red & Black, are thankful and excited for the progress that has been made today, following the afternoon meeting with representatives from the Board of Directors. Prior review is off the table; student editors retain final content approval. Ed Morales, who was promoted earlier this month to the role of editorial director, made it clear that he has returned to his role as editorial adviser. And Ed Stamper, a board member who authored an internal draft of a memo that called for new content guidelines, tendered his resignation. These actions are signs of forward momentum, resolving many of our concerns regarding the editorial direction of the organization.

Former Editor in Chief Polina Marinova and former Managing Editor Julia Carpenter will reapply for their positions.

Chuck Reece, an alumnus of The Red & Black and UGA, released a statement following the board’s announcement. In it, he called for a more open dialogue between student staffers of all departments and board members. Students, he said, should resolve to create an environment of trust every day.

So we have resolved to create this environment, and we trust that the board will make the right decision.

The support we have received in the last 48 hours from journalists, community members, national organizations, fellow students and members of the University of Georgia has been surreal. We are so thankful to everyone. We have been running on little sleep and food, but this has kept us going.

Today is the first day of an ongoing conversation between The Red & Black’s students, professionals and its board. Together we will work to ensure that The Red & Black continues to be a place of learning and great journalism.

Thank you.

Statement on Ed Morales

We want to clarify that we respect Ed Morales and his role as editorial adviser. He has been a wonderful resource for us throughout the years. We valued and respected his opinion and advice.

We don’t believe these changes to be his decisions but that he related them to us.

However, we strongly feel having a position such as that of the editorial director, which would oversee all student-produced editorial content prior to publication, takes away the editorial power from students in a student publication.

Board member information

Many have requested a list of the board members. This list was taken from the “About” section of The Red & Black website.

The Red and Black is governed by the following volunteer board of directors:

Elliott Brack, President, Chairman of the Board, Norcross, Georgia
Melita Easters, Vice President, Atlanta, Georgia
Chris Stone, Secretary, Nolensville, Tennessee
Don Carter, Sea Island, Georgia
Carroll Dadisman, Tallahassee, Florida
Amy Glennon, Atlanta, Georgia
Bill Krueger, Raleigh, North Carolina
Ron Lane, Athens, Georgia
Kent Middleton, Athens, Georgia
Harry Montevideo, Treasurer, Publisher
Burgett Mooney, Rome, Georgia
Charles Russell, Atlanta, Georgia
Alexis Scott, Atlanta, Georgia
Ed Stamper, Norcross, Georgia
Patricia Templeton, Atlanta, Georgia
Liz Thorington, Atlanta, Georgia

Also from the website:
“Finances and how we operate: The Red and Black newspaper is operationally and financially independent from the University of Georgia. The paper receives no student activity fees or other funding from UGA. The paper is self sufficient through the sale of advertising.
Our purpose: Our two-fold mission is: to provide a training ground for students interested in gaining experience in various aspects of newspaper publishing and to produce a high quality newspaper for the University of Georgia community.
Who owns us: As a 501 (C) (3) not-for-profit corporation.”

Letter to the Editor

I introduce myself as somewhat of an oddity to the former staff of The Red & Black. My Grady class résumé is slim, but not for lack of trying. I was a double major in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and I tried to triple major in newspapers. I wanted a full-on education that delved deep into the Associated Press Stylebook and learned the textbook basis of media laws, but a background in science, since my eventual career goal was to be a science and agriculture reporter.

However, one begging and pleading email led to another and ended up with me not being allowed to get that third major. Thus, the vast majority of my knowledge of AP style and writing came not from a classroom or the red pen of a Grady professor, but instead from the lessons I learned at The Red & Black.

The first of many lessons were learned from fellow staff members, and countless others from spending hours with Ed Morales, the editorial advisor. As a freshman, unsure of anything except I knew I loved to write, I brought a résumé and cover letter to then-recruitment editor Philip Kisubika. A couple of weeks later, I wrote my first story about the engineering majors at the university — or University, as proper Red & Black style dictated. Four years later, after semesters as the south campus reporter, a summer as editor-in-chief and a year as senior reporter, Morales gave us staff shirts that said, “Just Can’t Leave.”

While originally meant as an inside joke based on some filler copy for layouts, the statement rings true today more so than ever. Because we cannot leave. The Red & Black is just as much an ideal as it is a business. Look at these alums — most Grady grads, others not so much — who write in support of the student newspaper they helped continue a legacy that spans more than a century. Sure, things need to change from time to time, but I stand firmly behind the majority of fellow Red & Black alumni who agree that removing the core value of “student-run” from that legacy is a horrible idea. In several news stories published Aug. 16, board member Kent Middleton was quoted as saying, “They can’t be as effective journalists outside The Red & Black.” Publisher Harry Montevideo was quoted in videos insisting that surely there would be plenty rushing to fill the spots vacated by the editors and some staff writers on a campus of more than 30,000 students. But trust me when I say that having a staff full of students is not enough, even if there are 10-plus professional staff members serving in an advisory capacity. I worked on a news staff at one point with nearly 20 names on the roster, and I can probably count maybe half of them who showed up regularly and covered stories more than once a week. That is not the answer.

We “just can’t leave” because we never left. The lessons we learned, the critiques we got each day from Morales, the good times and the bad times will stay with us forever. And love it or hate it, people want to be a part of that. They don’t want to be a part of a newspaper that is controlled by others — trust me on this, there were days when former Red & Blackers I worked with at a “real-world” daily newspaper would lament about how we wished Morales and so-and-so were around to run things a little differently. They want to be part of The Red & Black legacy: a student-run newspaper that focuses on finding breaking news and teaches how to cover it.

I encourage members of the Board of Directors to assume transparency in this situation. We have many unanswered questions: What’s true in the memo Ed Stamper wrote? Why were student staff not more informed as to what was going on? Why were a consultant and team needed? Why hire a board member rather than a third party?

I applaud Polina Marinova, Julia Carpenter and the rest of their editorial team for driving to get the answers to these questions. I hope those other students Montevideo refers to as the future pool of Red & Black student staff get to learn from their experiences, the way they learned from the editors who came before them, the way I learned from those before me. I hope this issue gets resolved and the primary objective of The Red & Black is not compromised, but instead, greets the future with an open mind and understanding of both sides of this complicated story.

I am a proud University of Georgia graduate who firmly stands behind The Red & Dead in reaffirming the mission the campus newspaper was founded upon. I hope you will join me.

Dallas Duncan

Animal Science, Agricultural Communication 2011

Former Editor-in-Chief/News Reporter