Lots of decent people struggling with hard issues in this tangled story.

Is Steve Smith the (as my daughter would say) “escape goat” in the Emerald action? Or maybe more accurately the newspeg for the Daily Emerald strike?  Smith updated his blog, shining more light by opening the documents in question for all to read.

The more I read and hear about this the more — I can only speculate — but the more it seems this is a larger fight for the students sparked by Smith, that shocking $80,000 number, and the simmering, long-brewing battle for independence that always seemed to be percolating just barely beneath the surface in most of my dealings with the Emerald students. It was years ago, but most of my efforts to offer advice, workshops, career stuff, were not welcomed by a lot of the Emerald staff. They were polite and appreciative, but their eyes remained on the prize of independence.

I stopped by the Emerald office once to promote the Snowden internship program, which I was running at the time. The editor then was not there. She later e-mailed me and in no uncertain terms told me I should not come to their office without an approved appointment. I had affronted her sense of the boundaries between the J-School faculty and the student paper — as if just having me come in there to say hello and push and internship challenged some deeply ingrained yet invisible line of demarcation.

I don’t blame them. If independence is what you’ve got, it’s smart to hold onto it. But now what have we got? Something better? A new, stronger foundation? A quagmire? A deep loss? I don’t know.

Here’s Steve Smith’s take from his blog:

Still A Newspaperman » Blog Archive » Emerald documents posted

Emerald documents posted

Good evening,

For what it is worth, I have posted in the Emerald thread below copies of my original proposal to the board for the interim publisher position as well as a copy of my draft job description for the publisher job.

Both documents were prepared at the request of then-Chair Mark Watson. If I had been thinking more clearly earlier today I would have posted both items in the interest of transparency.

For those who are interested in considerably more detail, the documents might hold some interest.

I also drafted, at the board’s request, a new job description for the Emerald editor position. I believe that description was tweaked some before it was posted on the Emerald site last week.

But my original draft contained this language, drafted by me and representative of my commitment to student independence.