By: The Transcript‘s editors
Recently, Butler University in Indiana made a startling change in the leadership of their student newspaper. The paper’s faculty adviser, Loni McKown, was fired from her advising position after nearly six years, and was replaced by a member of the school’s public relations department. That’s right–an administrator with a vested interest in making Butler University look good now has official input regarding what the reporters and editors of the student paper write about and publish.
That’s not how we do it at The Transcript. Not now, not ever.
The Transcript has two advisers: a faculty adviser, Dr. Paul Kostyu, and a media adviser, Jo Ingles. They share their extensive wisdom and experience and offer support when asked, and the rest is up to us, the paper’s six editors.
We decide which stories and editorials will be written. We assign the stories to ourselves and to our reporters. We find sources, interview them, gather information and write stories, along with the reporters. We design pages, publish stories online and promote our paper.
We make the judgment calls, the hard decisions.
There is not a single administrator, faculty or staff member or interested party who has the power to sway us.
This is an integral part of what being a college student newspaper is all about. This system provides us with the autonomy and freedom necessary to find out what is really happening on campus and publish that information how we see fit, even if some people would rather that information stay concealed.
The Transcript has a long legacy at OWU. We were founded in 1867 under the name Western Collegian. Over the course of nearly a century-and-a-half, the paper’s many editors have felt pressure from OWU’s administration numerous times while breaking controversial news.
There have been many instances throughout The Transcript’s illustrious career when the administration has asked us to change the angle of a story or to promote an event. And time and time again, we have maintained our independence.
Some of that news includes drug busts and other on-campus crimes, powerful administrators being fired, a now-obsolete residence hall having its fire escape doors nailed shut and so much more.
There has been criticism, both by the university and by students, but as a paper, we feel what we’re doing is important. And that importance is maintained by our independence.
The importance of publishing these stories for all of campus to read and maintaining the independence of The Transcript cannot be overstated. And while preserving our autonomy over the years hasn’t always been easy, it’s something that we as editors will continue to fight for.