USC says that Zach Fox, already elected once as spring editor of the Daily Trojan but blocked by administrators, can run again. He tells Jacob Soboroff on video over at Native Intelligence that he's still thinking about it. USC Annenberg prof and LA Weekly editor Mark Cooper also makes an appearance in the video — exclusive, as they say, to LA Observed.
Also: Open letter to the USC media board from Daily Trojan alums working in journalism after the jump:
We, the undersigned, are proud to be University of Southern California alumni and Daily Trojan veterans. We find ourselves in our professional positions thanks in no small part to our education in Student Union 421. We are concerned and angered because the events of the past few days have provided the present student staff with an education of the worst sort and disgraced the university and newspaper we hold dear.
The administration should not have the right to bar a qualified, capable, elected editor who has done nothing unethical or illegal. The rejected editor, Zach Fox, has a vision for the paper, a vision that his staff supports and that the administration should also support, even if elements of the administration disagree with it. The editorial staff of the student newspaper should be sovereign, and the staff of the Daily Trojan has always operated as such. The administration is committing a grave transgression in violating the paper’s rights to editorial freedom and self-determination. Its actions in this matter damage the reputation and integrity of both the University of Southern California and the Daily Trojan. If the administration has concerns about the way the editor intends to run the office, it can voice those concerns, but it is the editor’s decision. If what Fox has proposed disagrees with the job description, perhaps it is time to change the job description. Its wording should not be sacrosanct. When it comes to the relationship between the university administration and the student news room, the administration that administers least administers best.
The manner of the rejection and excuses offered are appalling and insubstantial, respectively. That the vice president of student affairs would veto the staff’s selection for its editor is unconscionable. That the vice president of student affairs would then decline to comment on the record about his actions to the very students he is supposed to serve is perhaps arrogance, perhaps cowardice, but it is certainly not leadership. The “job description” defense offered by the administration is narrow, disingenuous and untenable. Fox's election should stand.
Further, it is our hope that the task force considering proposals regarding staff access to the Daily Trojan’s financial information and input on its financial management is concentrating on how much input the staff should have and not whether it should see the books. The books should be open. Refusal to do so gives the appearance of impropriety, which is as foul as impropriety itself.
It seems clear that this situation has opened serious discussion about long-standing policies at the paper. Perhaps it should become a larger ongoing conversation. Any of us would be more than happy to speak with you about our experiences.
Editor in Chief, Summer 2003, Fall 2003, Summer 2004
Now a copy editor for the Los Angeles Times
Editor in Chief, Spring 2002
Now Hartford bureau chief for The New York Times
Managing Editor, Spring 2003
Now a copy editor for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times
Lifestyle Editor/Design Director, Spring/Fall 2002
Now a staff reporter for the Chicago Tribune
Lifestyle Editor, Fall 2001/Spring 2002
Now a copy editor and film critic for Variety
Editor in Chief, Fall 2005
Now an editor for Creators Syndicate
Editor in Chief, Spring 2005
Now a staff writer for Roll Call (Washington, D.C.)
Peter A. Rasmussen
Editor in Chief, Spring 2003
Now a sports reporter for The Monitor (McAllen, Texas)
Editorial Director, Fall 2003
Now the business and development reporter for the Los Angeles Downtown News
Assignment Editor, Fall 2003
Now city editor for Citysearch (New York, NY)
James Rufus Koren
City Editor, Spring 2006
Now the education reporter for The Daily Telegram (Adrian, Mich.)