's Forum Archives - Non-Cycling Discussions

Archive Home >> Non-Cycling Discussions(1 2 3 4 )

University Newspaper Shut Down(19 posts)

University Newspaper Shut Downczardonic
Apr 11, 2003 2:44 PM,0,532395.story?coll=orl-news-headlines

Naturally, those who hold no allegiance to the spirit of the Constitution will shrug their shoulders at the techincally legal censorship going on here. However, I think the following excerpt hits the nail on the head:

    Because Stetson is a private institution, it can restrict what the student newspaper publishes, said Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va.

    "If this happened at a public university, there's no question it would have been a First Amendment issue," he said.

    However, he questioned the ethics involved in the university's decision, saying it raises serious questions about the university's commitment to freedom of speech.

    "There are good reasons that policy isn't allowed at public institutions," he said. "Just because it's legal doesn't make it right."
    (Emphasis added.)

I don't like what the university did butpurplepaul
Apr 11, 2003 3:04 PM
I don't see how it rises to a Constitutional crisis. After all, there is a difference between the private status of the school and a public one. If enough people are upset by it, hopefully they will rally to have the decision turned over.

OR, people concerned with freedom of speech would do well to boycott the school by not attending or not sending their child there.
?? Nobody said it was a "Constitutional crisis".czardonic
Apr 11, 2003 3:13 PM
It does recall, however, the way that some people treat the First Amendment as a legal tecnicality rather than a principle.
No great loss here!Live Steam
Apr 11, 2003 3:15 PM
With responsibility comes risk. These children obviously overstepped the bounds of editorial ethics and lost their jobs. Their stunt was thoughtless and obviously hurtful and offensive to many. This is a good follow-up post to the days topic. Accepting responsibility and the consequences of not just our actions, but also the consequences of our words.
Apr 11, 2003 3:22 PM
Newspapers have generally been given very wide latitudes for editorial content, and it is disturbing when taken to the logical conclusion of what private news entities can do to stifle what is reported especially considering that so few own so many media outlets.
Is this reporting, though?aeon
Apr 11, 2003 6:37 PM
I don't know if I consider this "reporting". The content of our own student newspaper, for instance, is largely material I'd consider unfit for print. Ill thought out is a gross understatement.
Its not intended to be.czardonic
Apr 11, 2003 6:40 PM
The April 1st edition is traditionally devoted to satire.
Herein lies the difficulty of our Constitutionpurplepaul
Apr 11, 2003 6:54 PM
Do the owners of a newspaper have the right to censor their reporters? Yes. Should they? Depends. What if the owners did not want a story critical of them personally or professionally to be published? Should they have the right to quash it? Most would probably agree that editors shouldn't publish mindless profanity, and if they did, they should be censured and/or fired. But few instances are that clear. And therein lies the difficulty.

I suppose one could say the owners should have absolute control over content, regardless of what the "facts" are, and the market will embrace or reject them. But look at the results of the state-controlled media in Iraq. Those people really thought Baghdad Bob was for real. Lives were lost because of that. That's an awfully big responsibility. Perhaps the best we can hope for is enough competition and disparate viewpoints to ensure that gross manipulation is impossible.
Someday, I'll have my own forum for opinion.aeon
Apr 11, 2003 8:06 PM
Someday I'll start my own method for distributing opinions. Then, I'll position myself as the all-powerful admin/God, censoring without regard to anything. If someone cries foul, I'll simply remind them that my forum isn't intended to be even handed, fair, accurate, or any of that. =)

I think Doug should spice things up here by wielding the administrative sword. It might get us away from this dreary war talk!
Why should expressing yourself be risky?czardonic
Apr 11, 2003 3:31 PM
Expressing a controversial point of view shouldn't carry the risk of having it censored. Countered, debated or maybe even ridiculed, but not censored.

Silencing views that you find offensive is a sign of cowardice and/or narrow-mindedness. As the Student Press Law Center guy said, just because the University can censor its student newspaper doesn't mean that it should. An institution who's goal is to educate young people and prepare them to fend for themselves in a diverse society should be teaching them to deal with views they disagree with in ways other than trying to silence them.
Why should expressing yourself be risky?Live Steam
Apr 11, 2003 3:52 PM
This was not news. It was a sophomoric attempt at satire akin to Mad Magazine. It was obviously done in poor taste and was even enough to even disgust sensibilities of the leftist that run the college. They were not censored because of accurate reporting that rubbed against the grain. They lost their jobs on an ill conceived prank.

And yes there are risk associated when one is required by the rules of their employment, to report accurately and without bias. Reporters report the news and should not unduly color it. Otherwise it is editorializing and thus can be judged accordingly.
Is this post representative of your reading comprehension?czardonic
Apr 11, 2003 4:26 PM
"It was obviously done in poor taste and was even enough to even disgust sensibilities of the leftist that run the college."

Leftist? From the article: "Though no longer affiliated with the Florida Baptist Convention, Stetson is still considered a conservative school. Alcohol was not allowed on its DeLand and St. Petersburg campuses until 1995."

"And yes there are risk associated when one is required by the rules of their employment, to report accurately and without bias. Reporters report the news and should not unduly color it. Otherwise it is editorializing and thus can be judged accordingly."

This was a satire published on April Fools day, as per the tradition of the paper in question. There was no expectation of accuracy or objectivity. From the article: "It has had an annual tradition of poking fun at the faculty, student groups and itself with an April Fools' edition renamed The Distorter."

You did get one thing right: they lost their jobs based on an ill-coincieved prank. Ill concieved, evidentally, because they underestimated the prudishness and callowness of administrators.

Anyway, it seems more likely that this was a pretext to shut down a paper that had been critical of the administration (a tradition among college papers, in case you didn't know) or at least unresponsive to their editorial meddling. From the article: "The newspaper had been under pressure from the administration to tone down the content of recent editions."
Is this post representative of your reading comprehension?Live Steam
Apr 11, 2003 4:56 PM
Most of the post you quote was in response to your preceding post and not the original subject post. I understand the satirical content was a traditional matter, but they apparently overstepped the bounds of what was acceptable. Some common sense should have prevailed over their need to overcompensate for the administrations previous attempts to rein them in. They even admit to overstepping certain bounds and going too far. I think the following excerpts are important to the story and to the subject of freedom of speech and of the press. Thanks for continuing your snide remarks. They only go to prove how intolerant you are to the views expressed by others.

"We believe very strongly in students' need for autonomy. But the students do assume responsibility for their editorial decisions." Something I have already said!

"After the April 1 edition, school officials said they were "inundated" with calls and e-mails from upset alumni, faculty and students." Students were even offended!

"Having the right and having the responsibility to use that right are two different things" Ditto, said it already!

"We've learned a lot in the last week as students and journalists," said former editor-in-chief Teresa Schwarz." At least they learned something!
If you say so.czardonic
Apr 11, 2003 6:23 PM
I don't see what your out-of-left-field (or is that right field?) "leftist" remark is in response to, other than your knee-jerk association of universities with liberalism. Nor do I see how pointing out the illogic in your response amounts to intolerance on my part.

Anyway, all you've done is argue in a circle. I already understood that there are people out there with intolerant attitudes towards controversial points of view. I just don't think those people offer much in terms of shaping students into open-minded, independent thinking adults.
Apr 11, 2003 6:31 PM
They're expressing themselves via a media that doesn't belong to them. This sounds similar to the discussions about using awards ceremonies as a forum to express political views.

The other side of the coin here is, just because the paper can print profanity in large block letters, doesn't mean that it should.

Actually, I think they are learning a lesson here. Regardless of theory, speech isn't always free in practice. If someone doesn't like the message, they're going to try to stop it from spreading. You can't play the game if you don't agree to the rules.
What's with these nit-wits and their "rules"?czardonic
Apr 11, 2003 6:51 PM
When journalism plays by the "rules" you get the kind of bland reporting you see in the professional world, where editors constantly cater to the lowest common denominator of sensibilities.

Again, I realize that we are talking about a private entity here with no allegiance or responsibility to the Constitution. Personally, I think it is pathetic the way that certain parties only practice America's founding principles when the law forces them to.

If these people can't handle some off-color humor, how do they manage when the same sentments are expressed in the real world, and the person expressing them isn't joking?
How much you want to bet the paper returns next year?Sintesi
Apr 12, 2003 6:32 AM
New, improved and supervised staff of course. This brings up another scenario where perhaps the students want to put something scatological-ly objectionable in the paper but is denied by a chaperon editor. I further wager this happens in public university papers all the time. Otherwise, where's the scat?

Are Constitutional rights abrogated in this scenario?
Apr 12, 2003 11:33 AM
Maybe Doug can help me here, but I'm pretty sure teh 1st amendment, as it pertains to a free press, is still a restriction on federal and state agencies only. I don't recall it being extended to private institutions generally.

Besides, if these kids really want to get an editorial message out, they will take advantage of the publicity and start a web-based news outlet, without taking handouts from the adminstration. Then we'll see some feathers fly!
Apr 12, 2003 12:07 PM
I keep forgetting that point. I think that is absolutely correct but how would it apply to the state university paper. Wouldn't that be protected? So who controls what goes in an essentially govt. owned paper. Most college newspapers are pretty tame from my recollection.