Student newspaper considers corporate partner
For more than 100 years, the Rocky Mountain Collegian has been run by the students at Colorado State University without any corporate masters. On Tuesday, the school administration met with staff from the Gannett publication, The Coloradoan in Fort Collin
While some may contend that the primary role of college newspapers is to prepare students for work in the establishment press, school newspapers also serve a vital role in keeping the community informed. In fact, college newspapers have broken stories on many occasions that resonated in the mainstream press. Some of these stories may have never seen the light of day if it weren't for the bold actions of determined college students and the newspapers these students control.For students at Colorado State University, it appears the keys to their student-run paper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, may soon be wrestled away and handed over to newspaper giant Gannett. According to a recent AP story, "Officials with The Coloradoan in Fort Collins met Tuesday with Colorado State University leaders to discuss a 'strategic partnership' to run the campus paper." While it's unclear at this time what a strategic partnership would look like, this isn't the first time that Gannett has involved itself with a student newspaper. In August of 2006, a Gannett newspaper purchased FSView & Florida Flambeau, an independent publication that serves the student body at Florida State University. A year later, the University of Central Florida's newspaper was also sold to a Gannett publication. Unlike those instances, the Collegian is run by the university and, as The Student Newspaper Survival Blog points out, "if a deal goes through with Colorado State University, it would be the first time Gannett gets involved in a student paper that had been run by a public university." The Rocky Mountain Collegian last made headlines in September of last year when the editorial board published a four word column that read, "Taser this - FUCK BUSH." While the editorial may not have been particularly insightful, and certainly wasn't nuanced, it is absolutely essential that the students be able to publish what they see fit. Despite any forthcoming promises not to interfere with the students' editorial control, it seems doubtful that they'd allow such an incendiary column to run without any form of response. Not surprisingly, students at Colorado University have expressed concern and outrage over the news that their paper may become affiliated with Gannett. Jeremy Trujillo, the paper's newsroom manager, expressed concern that students were not invited to participate in Tuesday's meeting, he told the Student Press Law Center, "I think the way it went down was somewhat shady. They should've had a representative from student media or the Collegian to at least provide insight about how this place operates on a daily basis."