Letter from the Editor in Chief

I, Polina Marinova, have resigned as the editor-in-chief from The Red & Black, the student newspaper covering the University of Georgia. The Red & Black’s top editors, design staff, photo staff and reporters walked out of the newspaper building this afternoon.

The Red & Black has covered the University of Georgia community since 1893 and has been independent of the University since 1980. The ne

wspaper has always been a student-run operation, but recently, we began feeling serious pressure from people who were not students. In less than a month, The Red & Black has hired more than 10 permanent staff with veto power over students’ decisions.In a draft outlining the “expectations of editorial director at The Red & Black,” a member of The Red & Black’s Board of Directors stated the newspaper needs a balance of good and bad. Under “Bad,” it says, “Content that catches people or organizations doing bad things. I guess this is ‘journalism.’ If in question, have more GOOD than BAD.” I took great offense to that, but the board member just told me this is simply a draft. But one thing that would not change is that the former editorial adviser, now the editorial director, would see all content before it is published online and in print. For years, students have had final approval of the paper followed by a critique by the adviser only after articles were published. However, from now on, that will not be the case. Recently, editors have felt pressure to assign stories they didn’t agree with, take “grip and grin” photos and compromise the design of the paper.

But what’s most alarming to me is that there was no input from The Red & Black student staff about any of these changes. I was doing an internship this summer, and I did not receive any materials related to these changes until I myself emailed the board member about it. Even then, nothing was solidified, and I still do not even know what the print product will look like in a week. I’ve worked at this paper since I was a freshman and held multiple leadership positions throughout. This semester, we have a really talented, smart and dedicated staff that had no voice in these changes. It all came from the top, not from the students.

The Red & Black has always been the best experience for student journalists. It’s no longer a place where lessons can be learned without “serious repercussions.” We don’t believe that is a learning environment.

As the former editor-in-chief, I stood by my editors and staff 100 percent and what I found out today was that we all stood together.

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147 thoughts on “Letter from the Editor in Chief

  1. Pingback: Articles about us | Red & Dead

  2. Pingback: Student journalists at the Red & Black were right to walk out | Rocky Mountain Collegian

  3. Back in the 1960s, I was a military journalist – first in print and later with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). The heavy-handed approach of the University of Georgia administration very much reminds me of the pressure that the brass used to put on military journalists to make things appear better than they really were as Vietnam turned into a quagmire. At the same time, having lived through the 1960s, it would seem that the present circumstances at UGA are ripe for the emergence of underground newspapers or similar media.

  4. Pingback: Why Walking Out On The Red & Black Was Absolutely the Right Thing To Do, Period. | See Alex Write.

  5. Ms. Marinova, you were 100% right in walking away from what is an attempt to undermine students’ freedom of speech! Continue to stand your ground!

  6. Pingback: Students walk out on University of Georgia newspaper | Astrid Bidanec

  7. As a UGA grad, former loyal R&B reader and occasional contributor, I hope you will turn this site into hub for student led journalism and show the R&B powers that be what new media looks like. Best of luck.

  8. Pingback: Student Journalists at UGA Walk Out After Hostile Takeover of Paper by Non-Students

  9. Pingback: Gulf Coast Rising News | Students walk out on University of Georgia newspaper

  10. As a former photo editor at the GSU Signal, I want you to know I’m proud of you and your staff for doing the right thing. Never compromise!

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