How can you help?

A student in the cafe in which we are currently based asked me this question and I thought it was pretty apt:
“What can we do to help?” So I felt like I ought to let you know.

The most important part, I think, will be to let people know you care, especially the ASUO (student government) and members of the board. The ASUO is important because it pays our subscription fee, which pays for us to put our paper on campus. ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz’s letter makes clear that he and his office support us in no equivocal terms. But it is also important to ensure that officers in student government know that their constituents support their decisions. The best way is to send e-mails to the Senate, the Athletics and Contracts Finance Committee, and Dotters-Katz himself.

And it is, if anything, more important that you contact the board. The voting members’ names are: Mark Blaine, Kevin Boots, Melody Ward Leslie, Jeanne Long, Katie Miller, Rob Moseley, Laura Paz Smith and Mark Watson. The terms of our employment, even during a strike, make disclosing their contact information problematic, but we will say that the UO Directory, Google, and staff contact pages for their employers can pinpoint almost anybody in the information age.

We encourage you in contacting them to observe the utmost civility because people seldom respond positively to abuse. Simply state your beliefs on the subject and tell them what you want to see happen. In spite of what we see as poor decisions on their part, we still believe they are reasonable, compassionate people who will see reason.

Thanks again for your support. Without your help, we would have no hope of ensuring the independence of the publication we love so much.

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5 Responses to “How can you help?”

  1. Daily Emerald Strike: textbook example of well, a socially mediated, content aggregated new media mediated news story « Old Dog, New Media Says:

    […] How can you help? […]

  2. Mike Lee Says:

    You’re askng the ASUO for moral support? The government you cover…?

    But let’s set that aside. Steve Smith has posted the text of his proposed contract on his blog…

    http://www.stillanewspaperman.com/2009/03/04/this-fight-will-go-on-without-me/

    It’s wayyyyy down the comments, but here’s what, um, strikes me as the relevant clause:

    “The publisher is responsible for all hiring within the company with the exception of the editor, who is appointed by the board, and the newsroom staff hired by the editor. In areas of business management, the editor reports to the publisher. However, the publisher does not have and cannot exercise any supervisory control or authority over the editorial content of the Daily Emerald newspaper and its related online and mobile sites.”

    I may be missing something, but that seems to satisfy what should be the fundamental issue: the Emerald’s editorial independence.

    Steve preceded me a few years at the Emerald, so I only know him by name. And I can’t speak for my late-1970s colleagues. But I can say that the spirit of newsroom independence was as strong as it could be during my time there, and I would be the first to go ballistic if that independence was threatened. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have yet to see evidence of that.

  3. independentjournalist Says:

    We didn’t ask for the ASUO’s support. They volunteered it.

    And having no contractual control or authority over the editorial content is not the same as having no influence over it.

  4. Mike Lee Says:

    “And having no contractual control or authority over the editorial content is not the same as having no influence over it.”

    Play that out. What kind of influence are you suggesting? What circumstances do you fear would arise?

    For example: On Steve’s blog, I suggested that while I found the contract terms satisfactory, if I were in the newsroom I’d probably want some clarification about what “business management” means in practice. Do you think that’s leaving a back door open for editorial control, and if so, how?

  5. Mike Lee Says:

    Here’s what I’m talking about…

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/03/05/oregon

    “While the publisher would not have the authority to hire and fire editors, Smith’s proposed bylaws would allow the publisher to ‘suspend the editor for egregious ethical or conduct-unbecoming reasons.’ The board, however, would have to review the suspension and either uphold or dismiss it within 10 days.”

    I haven’t seen this reported elsewhere, but that might just be me. Is this true? Because if so, ballistics might be in order.

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