Newspaper boxes will soon be welcome outside University of Texas journalism school

The Daily Texan

The University of Texas at Austin will figure out a way to get newspaper boxes on the site of the building housing its journalism school. "We’re on it," writes Roderick P. Hart, dean of the communications school, in an email.

The Daily Texan reported Thursday that newspaper boxes weren't welcome at the Belo Center for New Media, the j-school's new home, which opened Aug. 29.

Janice Daman, an assistant dean at the university's communications college, "told the School of Journalism last week that no news boxes are allowed in the Belo plaza or on the sidewalk," Bobby Blanchard reported in The Texan.

The issue arose when Glenn Frankel, director of the school of journalism, asked journalism professor Wanda Cash to look into why there were no Texan boxes in front of the Belo Center for New Media. Daman informed Cash of the college’s policy regarding news boxes in an e-mail.

Daman said the building is environmentally friendly, and the presence of news boxes raises concerns that litter, clutter and debris could gather around the building.

The Belo Center for New Media is striving to achieve the “silver certification” from U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Signage, banners, plaques and other forms of paper have also been banned from being posted outside the building.

“It’s not a news box issue, per se,” Daman said in an e-mail to The Daily Texan. “That is important to understand.”

Daman told Cash, "You’ll notice that even the trash cans’ color was specifically chosen by the architect." I have contacted Lawrence Group Architects to ask whether it suggested newspaper boxes should not be placed in the plaza.

UT's College of Communications, Blanchard notes, forbade The Daily Texan from being placed in front of another building in the school's Walter Cronkite Plaza last year.

Adjunct lecturer Mark Morrison called the newspaper-box ban "outrageous" and said, “I mean, to think that the Walter Cronkite Plaza does not have a Daily Texan newsstand, Walter would be rolling over in his grave."

There are two Daily Texan boxes near the Belo Center, Blanchard writes, one across the street. "I’ve asked our architect to design appropriate boxes for the newspapers and to tell us where they might be located on the new building’s site," Hart wrote in an email to Poynter. "For the record, there was never an intention to 'ban' the boxes. Since they were already located across the street (15 feet away), it never occurred to us that we’d need additional ones. But apparently we do! And so it shall be."

Related: Charlotte removes some newspaper boxes in advance of the DNC (Charlotte Observer) | Perhaps the longest story ever written about newspaper boxes (Washington City Paper)

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the University of Texas journalism school banned newspaper boxes in front of the Belo Center. It did not. The College of Communication did.

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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