Drafted memos

The documents posted are original copies of the drafted internal memo obtained by Polina Marinova, former editor-in-chief of The Red & Black student newspaper. The contents of these documents led Marinova to resign. Upon announcing her resignation, other top editors and staff members also chose to resign in protest of these proposed changes.

View them online here: draftmemo.

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27 thoughts on “Drafted memos

  1. As a current editor at the newspaper at the University of Miami, I am absolutely horrified by this memo. It runs completely counter to what a college newspaper is to be. Mad kudos to you guys for standing up 🙂

  2. How are you supposed to learn about writing, journalism, or editing from somebody who doesn’t know what ‘i.e.’ means; can’t even come close to spelling ‘libel’; called black people “burr-headed”; and complained about body piercings among the student staff? I have never seen a less professional document. Whoever drafted it should be offered one chance to resign before being fired for cause.

    • But, but, the pink and green flowers are being discriminated against! Justice for Lilly! This–and the comment urging for more articles written with the paper’s “audience” in mind (like “Freshman Rush”) is clear evidence that the student editors are being pressured by the board (or one board member) to pander to the school’s Greek system, rather than to report real news. Which, as we all know, has a rich and powerful alumni network. If newspapers only reported what they thought their “audience” wanted to hear, they would be Fox News.

    • Jesus. As an Ohio State fan, I don’t want to agree with Michigan PhD student, but I do.
      That memo was something like the beer-drunk, late-night ramblings of someone who left college journalism bitter and thinks kids today can’t do it as well as he/she did back in their day.
      I feel sorry for the author. They are pathetic.

  3. Absolutely shocking. It got worse with each bullet point. I wouldn’t want to read that version of any student newspaper. An adviser should NOT have editorial control of an independent paper. Eleven above-the-fold stories? 10+ audience “grin and grabs” per issue? An emphasis on fluff pieces and a crack down on swear words and sarcasm? What sort of a student newspaper is that?

  4. “Sarcastic comments” about rich, entitled white people are now exactly the same as racist comments about someone’s hair or bigoted remarks about their religion and “Will Not Be Tolerated.”

    Well, to most UGA students (entitled white people) I suppose they might be.

    Man, fuck free speech.

  5. “What we must strive to include more of . . . Content . . . that has proven to be compelling based on analytics and audience feedback, ie. what we just saw with Freshman Rush coverage.” I don’t know if you guys have time to watch sappy TV like Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, but this comment sounds exactly like something the evil network executive would say, the one who forces reporters to pander to the masses, rather than deliver the news. Good for you, for sticking to your standards. Solidarity!

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  7. Perhaps you all can explain how the memo was written by a board member who was consulting for the paper; he’s the sole reason why all the extra staff was hired and the driving force behind the most recent changes.

  8. Good luck conforming to, or following, any future policies required by any journalistic related employer after graduation.

  9. First, I don’t understand how things escalated to this level? That’s a shame in itself.

    Second, even though I support the R&B and its right for collegiate journalism, I have to admit that I agree with a lot of points made in this memo. Just because it’s a student-ran newspaper and a classroom for journalism students does not mean that the content has to be bad — and it was bad.

    I’m active in collegiate journalism. I’ve served editorial roles (some with former R&B editorial staff members), but I think this memo hit the nail on the head for several issues that the R&B have been ignoring. Was this situation handled in the best way? No. Did the board overstep their boundaries? Sure. But I doubt this memo came from nowhere and blind-sighted them, and as I previously stated, this should have never escalated to this level.

    It’s a sad day when a college’s newspaper isn’t an avenue for news and features, but it’s a way for people to read about recent police arrests and poorly executed satirical articles on “how to find a husband while in college.” And that day came for the R&B.

    The journalism industry is a changing industry, and I understand that content, approach and delivery for newspapers, on all levels, is adapting, but it is a journalist and editorial staff’s duty to ensure that the adaptation is in the right direction. With the newspaper industry being threatened so greatly today, it is imperative that journalism should be solid and, lack of a better word, good, now more than ever — and that starts at the collegiate level.

    I hope some good happens from this rebel, and I hope that the staff of the R&B don’t get too caught up in the excitement of a “revolution” and remember what’s really important — good journalism.

  10. Russell and Barbara: exactly what I was thinking. Someone who doesn’t know the difference between “libel” and “liable” has no business being on the editorial board of any newspaper.

    Craig: it’s no longer necessary to “conform to the policies of a journalistic related employer”. The printing press is now effectively free, and Man in the Suit no longer gets to control what you say in print. The audience is the only thing that matters.

  11. I’m so impressed and inspired by the staff’s reaction to this outrageous memo – this is what real journalism looks like! A student-run newspaper should be like, RUN by the STUDENTS, no? We need more of this type of journalistic integrity, not less. Great job, all of you.

  12. I was an editor on the University of Southern California’s Daily Trojan. We had Roy Copperud (a legend in his time http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/22/us/roy-copperud-76-journalism-teacher-who-wrote-column.html) as our advisor. Roy never interfered with editorial content. He would critique stories and provide advice, especially when there was the possibility of liability for libel (see, I worked in BOTH words). But these bullet points are over the top interference with editorial control, and goes way beyond the role of an advisor.

  13. As a professor of communication who analyzes discourse for a living, I’d like to point out the “us” vs. “them” wording in this memo, where the “us” usually includes the editorial director/professional staff and the “them” is usually students (editors/writers for the R&B). For instance, “replace students that do not follow our standards” (p. 1). Not only does this language set up an opposition, but also it creates a hierarchy where the editorial director/professional staff is at the top. Evident by the communication, then, is NOT a student-run newspaper.

  14. I also left this comment for the story by Jim Walls at Atlanta Unfiltered:
    That memo sure is interesting to read. I especially liked that under the “We will not tolerate” section, the oh-so-wise author listed “Liable,” as if that’s a thing that can’t be tolerated. But it’s probably fitting that someone who writes “I guess this is ‘journalism'” about crime reporting also wouldn’t know the difference between “libel” and “liable.”

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