The media “task force” consisting of Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Kathleen McCourt, Dean Manuel Carreiro, and Vice President of Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell spoke at Wednesday’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting to discuss progress they have made. They have been appointed by President John Lahey to evaluate the structure of The Chronicle.
The “task force,” which began work over the holiday break, is looking to student newspapers at other universities to provide models. The team plans to meet with members of The Chronicle, as well as faculty within the journalism department before presenting President Lahey with a proposal by the end of the semester.
The administration’s media policy has been at the center of a heated debate since last semester, drawing criticism from the student media as well as dissenters outside Quinnipiac University. In the meeting Bushnell attempted to explain the reasoning behind the university’s policy, pointing to technological advancements that allow campus news to spread quickly via the Internet.
Bushnell said that newspapers downsizing due to financial woes will often gather news from sources such as The Chronicle
“That’s where it gets pretty interesting because who’s responsible for that?” she said.
Bushnell believes it is up to the administration to ensure that the information being distributed through the student media is accurate. She said the policy was put in place to protect the university and its students.
“It really isn’t about image, although we have been accused of that,” she said.
Outside institutions that have been looked at by the task force have included Yale University, Villanova University, Hofstra University and Boston University. Most schools that have “strong” journalism programs also have independent student newspapers, Bushnell said. These publications rent out space from the university and rely entirely on funds generated through advertising.
While this is a possibility, it has not yet been given serious consideration, Bushnell told members of SGA. The task of making The Chronicle independent, said Bushnell, could be a “several year project.”