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.



This non-stop news cycle, fueled by new media technology and socially- mediated students, offers a real-time, textbook example

of, well, a socially mediated, content aggregated,new media mediated news story. All elements present and accounted for:

a) a real-live newsworthy subject

b) dramatic fight for injustice (real or perceived, depends on your perspective)

c) Youth vs. the, um, Unyouth; David vs. Goliath; Us vs. The Man; Good vs. Evil

d) constantly updated content via all popular new media content vehicles, Twitter, streaming interviews, Facebook, blogging, all related stories linked on blog and Facebook page for easy access; BOTH sides providing blogs (in fact, both blogs linking to each other!! in a really cool, meta-mediated-move)

e) content is immediate; tone is both professional and personal (updates include logistical details as well as first-person accounts of student experiences and perceptions)

f) commenters going kerfloohey

g) high degree of potential for going viral especially if strikers start posting YouTube videos….

Streaming news story with editors interviewed:

Ashley Chase and Robert D’Andrea on KWVA in T minus 14

March 5, 2009 by independentjournalist

Our editor-in-chief, managing editor and senior news editor are going to be speaking about our situation on KWVA. You can stream it at this address. You’ll need RealPlayer. Enjoy.

Oregon Public Radio story:

Daily Emerald Staff Revolts

The Daily Emerald’s newsroom is protesting how its board is implementing a new strategic plan. Staff at the University of Oregon’s daily newspaper went on strike Wednesday. Rob Manning reports.

The staff argues it would reduce the paper’s independence. The Emerald is separate from the University of Oregon, but it reports on U of O extensively.

Student managing editor, Allie Grasgreen, says the board had offered to hire a new publisher, who could’ve also been employed by U of O.

Grasgreen says currently students decide whether to report on their journalism professors, for instance.

From Oregon Media Insiders:

The entire Oregon Daily Emerald staff walked out at 6 this morning in a dispute with its board of directors over student control and editorial independence:

The [four] demands address recent hiring decisions of the board that are far out of line with the Emerald’s guiding values and ethics. The Emerald is in the midst of a transformation that we hope will allow us to continue to publish as long as the University is enrolling students, but we are in dire financial straits and if these changes are not made soon, the Emerald may have to close its doors within the next few years.

Blog post from the Oregon Daily Emerald staff strike blog:

How can you help?

March 5, 2009 by independentjournalist

A student in the cafe in which we are currently based asked me this question and I thought it was pretty apt:
“What can we do to help?” So I felt like I ought to let you know.

The most important part, I think, will be to let people know you care, especially the ASUO (student government) and members of the board. The ASUO is important because it pays our subscription fee, which pays for us to put our paper on campus. ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz’s letter makes clear that he and his office support us in no equivocal terms. But it is also important to ensure that officers in student government know that their constituents support their decisions. The best way is to send e-mails to the Senate, the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, and Dotters-Katz himself.

Chronicle of Higher Education covers it:
Source: chronicle.com