First Emerald produced since 1900 without student contributors

March 5, 2009

Uploaded tonight to the ODE drop (an internet resource we use to publish) was a copy of tomorrow’s “Oregon Daily Emerald.” (Quotes are intentional.) We decided to repost a pdf the first-ever non-student newspaper published at the University of Oregon under the masthead of the “Oregon Daily Emerald” here tonight for our readers, advertisers, and community to review. 

Contained is a series of articles covering our strike, including content pulled from our blog and a statement from the ODE Board. The rest of the articles are from the AP wire, meaning that tomorrow students will receive from the Emerald the coverage of news written not by other students but by journalists working elsewhere.

We approach this with a kind of sadness, being committed, like most of the campus community, to a student newspaper that is run by students. But our extensive coverage of the issue – including photo media by our some of our photographers, off-linking to the internet resources relevant to interested readers, twittered coverage of the events, and our ability to get this story out solely relying on e-mail and internet contacts – hopefully suggests to the Board one of the key issues that we, the student staff, from the very beginning wished to establish with our otherwise unreasonable actions: that it is irresponsible and unnecessary, in a dire financial bind, to outlay $80,000 of student and advertiser money to non-students in order to develop a product that has the potential to meet both reader and advertiser needs, as well as our ethics, in the “age of the Internet.” We hope that here can begin a conversation about the future of this newspaper that acknowledges the pressure to change while respecting the importance of the independent and student-run voice.

That being said, we continue to respect the Board’s position as our leadership and hope to be able to faithfully negotiate and work to a conclusion tomorrow morning that upholds our commitment to our readers, staff and advertisers. We hope this conclusion, further, will allow the Emerald to remain a fiscally viable resource upon which all these parties rely. We have no interest to “bully,” or “blackmail,” but only to figure out a productive way we can bring into reality an Oregon Daily Emerald that utilizes both the tools of the Internet and its long-established tradition of credible journalism that upholds our institutional, educational, fiduciary, and, of course, journalistic commitments.

EXTRA! EXTRA! ODE Full Of AP Wire Stories! <-click here. a temporary arrangement, we all hope.

Oh, the Oregon Commentator might have a field day with this issue.

A Personal Aside: As the Environmental Columnist, I just wanted to mention that our blog provided a news service to our readership interested in this issue while consuming fewer natural resources than would printing and distributing an Emerald on hard copy at each individual update. I figure, editorializing here of course, that if we can provide a more efficient service to our readers with a lower environmental cost, we might all be better off. But I’m just mouthing off at this point, as we should all be asleep.

Senate meeting summary — in part

March 5, 2009

Tonight we presented before the ASUO (student government) Senate and it went better than we expected. ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz put us at the top of his update for the body and passed around the letter his office prepared earlier and all 18 of the senators present signed. The Senate received us with hearty applause and warm raps on the EMU Board Room table, the highest form of adulation in their repertoire. Dotters-Katz stood alongside us. That, in and of itself, was probably the most remarkable part of the meeting. We’ve printed some negative editorials about Dotters-Katz, but his ability to see what was best for his constituents as ASUO President is laudable and moving. In a way, that is the most gratifying endorsement we have gotten. Dotters-Katz and several senators said flatly: If the third and fourth conditions we have set for the end of our strike are not met, then we are in grave danger of having our substantial contract with the ASUO cut completely. And it’s difficult to see how that wouldn’t be the end of the Emerald. Their basic argument: they pay for an independent student newspaper. If our organization is headed by a University professor, or if someone who is not a student has control over our newsroom, then we are not an independent student newspaper and not fulfilling our contract. Those are the Senate’s words, not ours. I, Alex Tomchak Scott, feel kind of scabby reporting on even part of an ASUO Senate meeting, considering that that is what I am paid by the Emerald to do. But I will assure you that the Senate meeting, still far from over at midnight Wednesday, contained much else that was exciting and crucial. And I won’t report a word until the strike is over.

Senate Meeting Photos

March 5, 2009

Photos from the Senate Meeting:

Photos by Tristan Coolen.

Board issues statement

March 5, 2009

The ODE Board has issued a statement, published on dailyemerald.com:

The Oregon Daily Emerald Board of Directors looks forward to meeting with the newsroom staff Thursday morning, with the goal of ensuring the staff’s participation in the continued publication of the ODE. 

Steve Smith, who had been offered the position of interim publisher by the ODE board, has withdrawn. The board intends to undertake a national search for a publisher. 

The editorial independence of the ODE continues to be of paramount concern, and at no time has the board attempted to undermine that.

In addition, the board remains committed to its responsibility of overseeing the financial stability of the ODE.

We look forward to a prosperous future of providing news to the campus community, as well as a valuable educational opportunity for University students.

Signed,
The Board of Directors

Editors to meet with ODE Board 8 a.m. Thursday

March 5, 2009

The Board held an executive session meeting this evening and afterward called to confirm a meeting time with Emerald editors tomorrow. We hope that we will be able to come to an agreement and return to work as soon as possible.

Thank you all, again, for your support.

Ashley Chase and Robert D’Andrea on KWVA in T minus 14

March 5, 2009

Our editor-in-chief, managing editor and senior news editor are going to be speaking about our situation on KWVA. You can stream it at this address. You’ll need RealPlayer. Enjoy.

How can you help?

March 5, 2009

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.

Talks with Journalism school dean

March 5, 2009

Currently, six members of the Emerald’s staff are in a conference with the dean of the University’s School of Journalism and Communication about the strike.

They are Editor-in-Chief Ashley Chase, Managing Editor Allie Grasgreen, News Editors Robert D’Andrea and Rebecca Woolington, Photo Editor Dave Martinez and News Reporter Emily E. Smith. We’ll give you more information on how that turns out the second we get it.

After that, Grasgreen and Chase are going to be speaking about the strike on the campus radio station, KWVA (88.1), at 6 p.m. You can listen to that here. You’ll need RealPlayer. I’m looking forward to it.

We’re on Facebook

March 5, 2009

We have taken our strike to Facebook, which several not-particularly-reputable sources have informed me is the future of journalism. We’ve just started a group. We’re pretty excited about it. Please join.

Smith’s letter of resignation

March 4, 2009

We posted a link to this early, but realized it deserves its own post.

Text of email sent to ODE board 3/4/09
Good morning,

When it comes to unwise and futile gestures, I take a back seat to no one. So I can’t in any way criticize the staff of the Daily Emerald for taking a stand on behalf of principles in which they believe even though I think they are being shortsighted.

I love the University of Oregon and I love the Daily Emerald. I have done my best throughout my career to show support for both institutions. Finding myself in conflict with the paper’s student editors is personally painful.

So, it is clearly in the best interests of all involved that I withdraw my offer to work with the paper in the coming year.

Perhaps with the field clear, the board and the staff can focus on the one issue that matters, the paper’s survivability.

I am going to ask the Emerald to reimburse me for non-refundable expenses incurred in advance of my trip to Eugene next week, something less than $300.

Thanks for your consideration and support during this difficult time. Please know that I wish you and the staff all the best.

steve