Wednesday, January 23

Notes on the Collegian/Coloradoan "partnership"

As the staffers of the Rocky Mountain Collegian gathered outside of CSU President Larry Penley's office yesterday afternoon, they wondered aloud why they hadn't been invited to the meeting inside, where Penley was discussing potentially radical changes for the student newspaper.

"We're not going to hang out while [they have this discussion]," said editor David McSwane, moving amongst fellow students holding signs with slogans expressing anxiety over a rumor that the paper might be sold to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, owned by the Gannett Company.

Associated Students of CSU President Katie Gleason was the first to exit the office, offering the stock phrase of the afternoon when referring to the talks as "a preliminary discussion on a strategic partnership."

Coloradoan Publisher Christine Chin and Executive Editor Bob Moore confirmed that the Coloradoan had initiated the conversation, and Chin said that "as we proceed forward, we will include a lot of stakeholders" in the discussions.

Moore added, in response to inquiries about why Collegian staffers had not been invited to the meeting, "I got nothing out of that meeting that indicated we were talking to the wrong people." As McSwane pressed him, Moore referred him to Penley.

"No one has been slighted," said CSU spokesman Brad Bohlander, assuring that all of the "key players" had been at the table. With regard to future conversations, he said it's "all in the Coloradoan's court."

Back at the Coloradoan office, Chin sent an email that included the following statements to the staff:
The Coloradoan today began discussions with CSU about potential strategic
partnership opportunities with the campus newspaper, the Collegian. As you know, the Coloradoan explores all sorts of opportunities. ... Our talks are in the very early stages and no details have been developed. If you get any questions from the community or other media about our talks with CSU, please refer them to me.
Penley's office, noting the university's "strong relationship with the Coloradoan," also released a statement to the CSU community:
As a result of today’s meeting, we have asked Gannett to submit a formal proposal, and asked that they address how a strategic partnership:

-Would enhance educational opportunities for student journalists;
-Would enhance professional opportunities for student journalists;
-Could enhance journalism faculty advisory participation;
-Could improve services to the larger student body.

Should the Coloradoan choose to move forward, we will make the consideration of the proposal a public process whereby input from students, faculty and staff will guide my advice to the Board of Governors in making any decisions. Ultimately, the Board and I want to seek opportunities to improve the student experience - including educational and career opportunities – at Colorado State University.

1 comment:

Andy said...

I'm outraged. It's bad enough that the profession of journalism grooms young talent to eventually fill the paint-by-numbers tripe that fill Gannett papers. Now the industry wants to take over the place where young journalists can really practice their craft.

This is obviously Penley's retaliation for the McSwane controversy.

And, as usual, student government plays the role of administration lackey: somebody to sit quietly at the table to give the administration a fig leaf of credibility while shutting student journalists out of the process. Disgraceful.