Federal aid story prompted Falwell to block Lynchburg paper

Lynchburg News & Advance
News & Advance reporter Liz Barry wrote today that Jerry Falwell Jr.'s Liberty University blocked access to N&A's website for at least one day last week, and that "Falwell did not elaborate on the reason." I asked the reporter via email if she had any idea what prompted Falwell's move. Barry never responded, but another newspaper employee told me that some people there believe it was her earlier story that got the paper blocked:



Published: March 27, 2011
Liberty University students received approximately $445 million in federal financial aid money last fiscal year, according to U.S. Department of Education data, making LU the top recipient in Virginia.

The rapid growth of Liberty’s online program has fueled the increased reliance on federal aid dollars, said Robert Ritz, LU’s executive director of financial aid.

Last year, Liberty enrolled about 52,000 online students, plus another 12,000 through its residential programs. ...

Falwell told the News & Advance that the block wasn't related to the newspaper's content, however.

Salon.com linked to Barry's story and pointed out the conservative college got more government cash than NPR last year. My source at the newspaper told me that the Lynchburg paper's aid story gave Liberty "a lot of headaches, to the extent they enlisted their DC public relations firm."

CLARIFICATION: This post has been updated to note that Liberty told the News & Advance that the block "was not related to the newspaper's content" and that the unidentified source works at the newspaper.

  • Jim Romenesko

    From 1999 to 2011, Jim Romenesko maintained the Romenesko page for the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based non-profit school for journalists. Poynter hired him in August of 1999, after seeing his MediaGossip.com, a hobby site he started in May of 1999.


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