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.

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24 thoughts on “Statement following today’s meeting

  1. It’s not often that you fight the good fight and win. You guys should be as proud of yourselves as all of the R&B and Grady alumni are of you. Hopefully this will be the first of many journalistic victories.

  2. Let’s see… you all posted your content on this website, leaving the Red & Black without your work. Then the publisher and the Red & Black board, who were left with lots of bad press and probably some unhappy advertisers as well, decided that they were really just kidding about editorial oversight. Ed Stamper then fell on his sword and offered up some story about how he didn’t mean anything in that draft document or even think about it, and you all just misunderstood. Uh-huh. He then resigned (a bit part that someone must play in such dramas, apparently) and now the path is clear for the creators of content to “reapply” for their jobs. Why? I don’t think Montevideo actually respects you. He just needs you right now. Sure, I’m a cynic about repairing a work relationship that’s this broken, and maybe youth and optimism will triumph in the end. I wish you happiness and success, but I do not think you’ll find either by working for Montevideo again.

  3. Pingback: After two dramatic days, The Red & Black might once again have student editors with final say on content | Savannah Unplugged

  4. Thousands of onlookers all over the country are rejoicing for you today. The student journalists of UGA have met this challenge with a decorum the “professionals” at R&B could not muster, holding fast to principle in the face of obstinacy and unjustified ridicule. The battle you have waged and won in recent days will do more to advance the quality and the prominence of your student newspaper than even the best “innovations” from your board ever could.

  5. You’re back working for a publisher whose statement attempted to defend the “draft memo” and asserted that he could replace you with other student journalists?

  6. As a 2009 UGA and R&B alum, I am extremely proud of what this group of students has accomplished. They did not back down and fought until the right result happened. Hopefully, each job is reinstated as it was before this mess, even though everyone is required to reapply.

    With that stated, it is an absolute joke Harry Montevideo still holds the publisher position. What MKS said is true, he needs the students and wants the bad press to go away. Hopefully this is his last year with the R&B. Instead of having someone give himself a $70K raise while complaining there is not enough money coming in, the R&B would be better suited with a publisher who has his or her heart in the right place. There is nothing wrong with being compensated well for your job, but do not be a hypocrite about it.

  7. The former R&B staffers were kept up all night working hard and standing by what they believe in. If there is any justice, Montevideo will be kept up all night by his heavy conscious. That is, if he has one.

  8. Pingback: Former Red & Black Staff ‘Excited for the Progess’ Made at Today’s Meeting with Board « College Media Matters

  9. I totally agree with what MKS$*&% said. Who is to say that the next generation of Red and Black journalists won’t be dealing with the same kind of issues. It does appear, to me, that the Board didn’t think anything would really come of the walk-out but responded only after an onslaught of horrible press. Moreover, Montevideo acted completely unprofessionally and clearly thinks that he still has total control over the type of journalism that comes out of the Red and Black offices. I understand why the former editors will be reapplying for their position, this is the real world and the problematic Board members have either resigned or been demoted, but I don’t think that negates what was done in the first place.

  10. Preface: I am a former staffer for the R&B, hold two degrees from the Grady J-school, albeit both 40 years ago, and have had a long career in publishing and PR. Folks, if you had the courage of your convictions to walk out on your jobs, then do not expect to walk back in to them. Welcome to Real Life. Both sides have probably killed off the R&B, sad to say.

  11. Full disclosure: I drafted a large part of the above statement, with assistance and re-writes from former R&B senior reporter Mariana Heredia and Polina Marinova herself. It is my hope — and, I think, the hope of many former R&Bers (now Red & Deaders) — that this first step of reapplication, which came after hours of deliberation and dialogue with staffers and board members, will establish a precedent of trust and transparency, two things which have been lacking for some time in the relationship between The Red & Black’s board and its students.

    Our ideal is for Marinova and former Managing Editor Julia Carpenter to be reinstated soon. That is only step one — but it is an important one, from which a daily, ongoing and candid conversation can evolve with the Board about their concerns these past months and about their actions this summer.

    Red & Dead is working to obtain the organization’s bylaws. We are working on more specific details about student membership on the Board. If its present members, including chairman Elliot Brack and vice chairwoman Melita Easters, are willing to engage with us as intelligent, adult journalists with a vested interest in the long-term success of The Red & Black, then — I hope — yesterday’s progress will continue with every day.

    If they are not, and if our trust in them is misplaced, then I don’t believe we, Red & Dead, will just stop.

    I and the rest of the former staff have been so relieved by the progress yesterday. But we know there are several harder, larger conversations still to be had; and several larger, more difficult, more implicit problems to be solved in order to have them.

    Those are what we face next, and we face them together.

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  13. Adam, I think your approach is wise. While many of us our encouraged by the progress of your talks with the R&B board, there’s certainly reason to remain cautious. For starters, Harry Montevideo seems to be a minefield in human form — and an outrageously overpaid one at that. There’s no student newspaper in the world with a publisher in that pay grade and, as yesterday’s photographs of Montevideo mandhandling Grady Newsource reporter Joshua Buce suggest, none with a publisher so inclined to violence. I just can’t see why this fellow should be allowed to continue slurping at the R&B trough. A half-time grad student could take over his duties (minus the manhandling) for $40K a year.

  14. Uh-oh, typo alert: I meant to write “many of us *are* encouraged . . . ” My apologies to the fundamentalists. . . .

  15. Pingback: UGA journalists leave Red & Black; Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor will re-apply | ODYSSEY Online

  16. Adam, those of us who worked with Melita on the R&B staff in the ’70s recall the times when the Board of Student Communcations (chaired by the Dean of the Ag School) wanted to control the editorial content not only of the R&B, but also of The Impression. R&B emerged from those times stronger than ever, and my hope is that the staff can see across this current canyon to the far horizon. Best of luck to you and all those who are working with you.

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