|Updated at 11:10 p.m. after a statement from The Red & Black appeared on its Facebook page.“Dear Red and Black family members–I am more glad than you know to see you raising questions about what’s going on right now at an organization we all love dearly. As a current member of the volunteer board of directors, I promise you all that the intent of the board is to support and preserve the purpose for which the paper exists: operating a publishing company excusively for literary and educational purposes, including the promotion of educational skills in journalism through the publication and distribution of a collegiate newspaper and other publications in and about the University of Georgia. You all know me, and I hope, still trust me. As long as I’m drawing a breath, I will work to preserve our purpose for being. I have spoken with Bill Krueger to begin the process of bringing him into the conversation, and will also be in touch with our representative director who is onsite working with Harry and the staff on this initiative. Right now, I have not heard from Harry, and do not know where he is on this. Please continue to follow, and weigh in as this unfolds. We are not the enemy; the enemy is indifference.”BY CAILIN O’BRIEN
Top editors and other staff walked out of The Red & Black’s office today following a staff meeting concerning a draft memo written by a board member to the editorial director.
Editor-in-chief Polina Marinova told the editorial director her decision to leave the paper after the meeting.
“I decided to resign as editor-in-chief because I felt it wasn’t an environment about learning and training students to do quality journalism anymore,” Marinova said. “I loved The Red & Black and did not agree with what it is becoming, so I decided to step down as the student representative of the paper.”
All top editors including managing editor Julia Carpenter, news editor Adina Solomon, variety editor Tiffany Stevens, sports editor Nicolas Fouriezos, multimedia editor Lindsey Cook, photo editor Cody Schmelter and chief photographer Evan Stichler also left their positions at The Red & Black.
The editors and staff who left the paper began tweeting out of an account called @redanddead815. About two and half hours after creating the account, it had attracted 1,000 followers.
Notable followers include the Student Press Law Center and alumni of the UGA journalism program.
Followers on Twitter also tweeted the account to CNN and The Daily Show.
Editors said the unrest among the staff had been building since the summer.
Changes started occurring after the April board of directors meeting, according to former senior reporter Mariana Heredia.
Directors made the decision after that meeting to invite a sitting board member skilled in publishing to fix the problems they felt had led to a falling readership in the past several years.
The Red & Black hired more than 10 new non-student employees in an attempt to offer more resources to the students working at the paper.
But editors said they started to feel as though the changes were beginning to infringe on the student-run aspect of the paper.
“I started receiving emails telling me what stories to cover and how to cover them and when to cover them that weren’t coming from the editor-in-chief or the managing editor,” Solomon said.
Other former top editors expressed similar feelings.
“I felt like it was unethically turning into something that we were trained not to do, from grip and grin photos to not letting us do our own work,” Stichler said. “It wasn’t our paper anymore.”
Editorial director Ed Morales was unavailable for comment.
The editors said they do not regret the experiences they gained during their years working at The Red & Black but cannot stay on with these new changes.
“The Red & Black gave us a lot, and the only thing is that it was a student newspaper and it’s no longer run by students,” Heredia said. “We want that back. They took away our newsroom.”