CJR | NABJ
Grambling State University’s dean of students overturned the suspension of the online editor and the opinion editor at school paper The Gramblinite, Tracie Powell reports, but at least one of the students will not return to the paper.
“I feel like they tried to silence my voice,” David Lankster Sr. told Powell Tuesday, saying he wouldn’t return as online editor: “Rather than deal with that again, I’ll just start my own blog or website.”
Kimberly Monroe, The Gramblinite’s opinons editor, also wasn’t sure of her future with the school’s paper. “I’m not 100 percent sure at this moment. I will speak with my academic adviser later this week. But as of right now, I haven’t been back to the newsroom,” Powell reported Monroe said. “There are just a lot of things still left unsaid in terms of the communication between all staff members, including the adviser.”
The school’s paper made news along with its football team when Lankster and Monroe were removed from their positions for what Peters says was a failure to follow a code of ethics.
The National Association of Black Journalists Tuesday issued a statement about student press freedoms at the school paper.
“NABJ continues to stand in support of a free and fair student press as an important voice that should not be censored. At the same time, NABJ believes student journalists should be unbiased and conduct themselves at all times by the same high ethical standards expected of all journalists.”
The statement quotes NABJ Vice President-Print Errin Haines Whack:
These incidents involving The Gramblinite should have been used as opportunities for teachable moments — especially in a learning environment — on the issues of unbiased reporting, press freedoms and journalistic integrity in the Digital Age, but instead have unfolded as another series of unfortunate events between an HBCU administration and its newspaper.
The NABJ reports it will hold a student media council to look at the relationship between school administrations and student journalists. At Grambling, that relationship has been strained over time, Powell reports.
“There’s a lot that’s gone wrong at the The Gramblinite recently—problems that have little to do with the mold growing inside the newsroom; problems that pre-date the current turmoil. Much of it can be traced to the fact that the newspaper has not had an editor in chief since the start of the semester. A student in that role would have been responsible for making editorial decisions and disciplining staff.”
Meanwhile, except for retweeting the NABJ’s statement last night, The Gramblinite’s Twitter account has been quiet since Monday.