In order for a newspaper to be the watchdog it strives to be, it must be as independent as possible.
Now it is time for N.C. State’s venerable student newspaper to take that step toward independence.
The Technician has been going through some rough patches lately. Over the last few years, the paper has suffered from recruitment and retention problems.
In fall 2009, this led the paper’s editor-in-chief, Ty Johnson, to be significantly overworked.
Johnson took on a lot of extra responsibilities, including running features sections as well as writing stories for the paper.
Thus, Johnson’s semester grade point average dipped below the minimum 2.5 required for the leadership position, even though his cumulative GPA was a 2.7.
Because the Technician is not an independent paper, it must abide by N.C. State’s policy for student leaders.
Johnson was dismissed from his position as editor-in-chief. Not only is the Technician understaffed, but it is now without its top leader.
The paper could fold if a plan isn’t developed. That plan should include breaking away from the university.
It’s not that the Technician should become independent to excuse its employees for poor academic performance. It should strive to become independent to ensure that its staffing decisions are unaffected by university policy.
Undoubtedly, those students who work at the Technician care about their academic performance. But as long as they are meeting the minimum requirements set by the university to be in good standing, they should be allowed to lead the paper.
Besides, in order for the paper to accurately and properly report on the university and its administration, it needs to be free of university influence on policy decisions.
“I’ve always thought that the paper should go independent,” Johnson said. “It definitely would be a viable option.”
According to Johnson, he doesn’t see it as a matter of finances because he believes that student newspapers are still going strong.
If there ever was a time for the Technician to take that step toward independence, it’s now.
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