Society of Professional Journalists
[Founded as Sigma Delta Chi at DePauw University in 1909]
“The real crisis of campus speech lies elsewhere—in the erosion of student newspapers…. Today, these outlets are imperiled by the same economic forces that have hollowed out local newspapers from coast to coast.”
Bureaucrats Put the Squeeze on College Newspapers
The corporatization of higher education has rendered a once-indispensable part of student life irrelevant, right when it’s needed the most.
August 23, 2019
When professional pundits talk about dangers to free expression on campus, they typically refer to a handful of incidents in which colleges have revoked invitations for controversial speakers. This, however, is a fringe issue, confined to a small number of universities. The real crisis of campus speech lies elsewhere—in the erosion of student newspapers. These once-stalwart publications have long served as consistent checks against administrative malfeasance, common forums for campus debate, and training grounds for future professional journalists. Today, these outlets are imperiled by the same economic forces that have hollowed out local newspapers from coast to coast. And unlike their professional peers, student journalists face an added barrier: The kind of bureaucratic interference Liebson met at Stony Brook is becoming the norm for student journalists.
Few school newspapers are financially independent from the institutions they cover, says Chris Evans, president of the College Media Association. As a result, college administrators hold powerful leverage over student journalists and their faculty advisers. The need for aggressive student news organizations is as acute as ever. But image-obsessed administrators are hastening the demise of these once-formidable campus watchdogs.
The AAUP report notes a “growing tendency” for administrations to conduct important business matters “behind closed doors.” Administrators slow-roll student journalists’ requests for public records. At some schools, newspaper advisers have been instructed to conduct “prior review” of student articles before publication, a precaution intended to ensure that anything that could gin up bad publicity never makes it to print.
The decline of college newspapers has taken place against the backdrop of a decades-old power shift in the American university. As the Johns Hopkins University professor Benjamin Ginsberg chronicles in his 2011 book, The Fall of the Faculty, administrative bureaucracies at American universities have grown much faster than the professoriate, a trend that Ginsberg decries.
“University administrators are no different than any other corporate executives or heads of government agencies,” Ginsberg said in an interview. “They’re engaged in constant spin designed to hide any shortcomings that they or their institution might have.”
Full article: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/08/death-college-newspapers/595849/?utm_sq=g6a9ilb3eb&utm_source=API+Need+to+Know+newsletter&utm_campaign=b39eb6eb5c-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_08_23_01_56&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e3bf78af04-b39eb6eb5c-45915123&utm_content=Articles