By Douglas Bell
I, along with many other AU students, greatly value The Eagle in its print form and was surprised when we learned of the print edition’s possible demise. I understand the impetus for the paper’s staff to seek support for its flagship publication.
But as a student media leader, I must take exception to the manner in which the editorials published in the Feb. 7 issue chose to portray the Student Media Board, even as The Eagle seeks to join and be funded by the Media Board.
In fall 2011, I became chair of a largely dysfunctional Media Board. I worked hard alongside all of the student media leaders to remake the board and firmly establish it as the strong organization that it is today.
Even though each of AU’s student media organizations produce vastly different products, the Media Board now serves as a vibrant, collaborative body that strengthens the work of each of our organizations. It provides a forum for us student media leaders to support each other.
It is disingenuous to portray the Media Board as an organization that wants to strip The Eagle of its editorial independence. That depiction goes against the very nature of how the Media Board operates as a governing body.
The Media Board is not responsible for The Eagle’s past bad financial planning that led to these circumstances. The Media Board is not responsible for AU cutting off further financial support to The Eagle, thus forcing their hand to join the board. Furthermore, I and many other student media leaders are outraged at the AU administration for making no provision to increase the Media Board’s already inadequate funding, even as they direct us to take on the new obligation of supporting The Eagle.
But we can, and we will, figure out a way to work through these financial challenges.
Even so, The Eagle needs to overcome their hubris that causes them to act as if they are the most important student publication at AU and makes them suspicious of ceding any control to another governing body.
The Media Board works because all of us operate on a level playing field with each other. This is how we maximize our collective value to the AU student body. If we can get past this posturing and work together, we can build a strong symbiotic relationship with The Eagle.
Douglas Bell is a senior in the School of Communication, the general manager at ATV and a former chair of the Student Media Board.