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Editor-in-Chief

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 04:10

 

“Adapt or die.”

That seems to be a common phrase heard in my life. Maybe I’ve read too much Darwin or watched “Moneyball” a few times, but this phrase has some relevance to The Independent Collegian, which needs to change in order to survive and better serve its readers. 

One change is our recent move from our office on Middlesex Drive, hidden behind Dowd, Nash and White Halls and next to Just Skate. If you have no idea where I’m talking about, you’re not alone. When I first began writing for the IC three years ago, I got lost the first three times trying to find the office; when I did see the run-down building, part of me wished it had stayed lost. 

With the move, there have been questions and speculation as to whether our independence was lost. As I have said before, the IC is in fact staying independent. This is a strictly business move where we, the newspaper, are renting space in Carlson Library for $1.  This obviously represents a saving that may cause some to see us as indebted, even though university departments have been contributing to our bottom line with advertising dollars for many years. Our independence, however, ultimately derives from our own attitudes and beliefs on how our publication should be run. 

By positioning ourselves in a central location, The Independent Collegian will become more connected with the community it covers and cares about. We hope our increased visibility allows you to better see the dedication we have not only to the IC, but the university as a whole.  

We’ve also made another change recently. The concept of having an advisor — whether the student-run publication is independent or not — is quite common. In fact, when the IC first declared its independence, it had a professional staff member to aid student editors. Somewhere along the line, that changed. 

Enter a new adviser — Erik Gable. A 2002 graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, he got his start at a student newspaper not unlike this one before spending the next 10 years as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Iowa and Michigan.

The important note to take from this is he’s like us. He’s dedicated to the readers and puts them first. 

Erik is in no way affiliated with the University of Toledo. He isn’t paid by UT and he doesn’t work for Tobin Klinger — and yes, that’s a rumor I heard regarding his position. 

He is paid by the Collegian Media Foundation, a non-profit organization that formed back at the beginning of the millennium when the newspaper dissolved ties with UT. Now, the Collegian Media Foundation is overseen by a volunteer board whose members have a variety of experiences. Only one is a member of UT payroll and that is Lora Cramer, a visiting instructor in the marketing department. 

At the end of the day, the IC is making some changes in content, quality and the design, which you’ve seen these past 10 weeks, but we are not giving up our core fundamentals.  I want you to know that we are available and willing to listen to suggestions or feedback. No matter what’s going on, we will continue to strive to serve you.

 

Vincent D. Scebbi is the Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Collegian and a senior majoring in communication. You can email him at vscebbi@independentcollegian.com.

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4 comments Log in to Comment

Danielle Gamble, News Editor
Sun Oct 21 2012 13:23
As the second Anonymous comment and a recent Letter to the Editor have pointed out, it seems there is a need to clarify some points about The Independent Collegian's shift in news coverage this year, especially the coverage on the UTMC kidney scandal.

The main reason we did not cover the kidney story as thoroughly as other outlets was we simply did not have the resources, specifically number of staff. Increased coverage on UTMC would have meant sacrificing coverage on other university events that no other news outlet was going to cover. We knew other outlets would be covering UTMC very well, and through our Facebook and Twitter we tried to share those stories as best we could.

Our first priority this year was to increase the breadth of news coverage, which I freely admit has affected the depth. We have had to prioritize our content, and celebrating student accomplishments and encouraging students to be involved will always take precedence in my book.

Did we perform as well as we could have, or should have? Sincere introspection and staff discussions point to "no," and the staff and I have taken the comments and criticisms from our audience to heart.

To the suggestion that we have been reporting only "PR friendly stories," I could happily point readers to stories we have covered this semester questioning the administration and their ability to serve the students. Certainly, the tenor of those stories is much less biting then years past, and that is on purpose - we are striving towards honesty and balance.

However, we are working hard on balancing our coverage, and I look forward to publishing some very in-depth pieces later this school year. I hope that readers do not confuse my personal short-comings as a journalist-in-training with a shift in the IC's allegiance.

I understand and respect the misgivings some have about the arrangement the IC has with the university - as someone pursuing a career in journalism, it is my first instinct to question circumstances like ours. But I can honestly say Vince and the rest of our staff have been as transparent as possible, and I apologize to anyone who feels otherwise.

At the end of the day, suggestions that the IC is not independent do not worry me, because I know with everything inside me that we are.

A large majority of very good student newspapers across this country are independent AND partially or fully funded by their university. This is because independence is not just about a location - it's a mindset. It's a promise that our editors have made to themselves, each other and our audience that the staff will always strive to bring our university community the best news coverage possible.

If you have any questions, comments or news tips, you can reach me at dgamble@independentcollegian.com.

Anonymous
Wed Oct 17 2012 13:49
I bet Tobin Klinger advised Vince Scebbi to write this article.
Jon
Wed Oct 17 2012 12:02
Blah blah blah blah. That's all I hear from the IC these days. You can say this all you want Mr. Scebbi, but the fact is, you write for who's paying your bills. And in this case the university is paying your rent and utilities and overhead costs. That to me is paying the bills.
Anonymous
Wed Oct 17 2012 11:45
This edit is coming a little late, don't you think? It would have been more appropriate if it came with the reconstruction of the paper. But I guess better late than never, I suppose.

And so now I'm confused. So if the IC is not paid by UT to produce positive, safe articles and still maintains its independency, then please explain the direction the IC has taken in only publishing safe stories and going soft on administration in forum and in news?

Like the letter to the editor in last week's issue stated, the IC is missing out on a lot of very important stories that, although make the university look terrible, are important issues nonetheless.
For example, keeping the campus up to date on the kidney transplant story and reporting on UTMC being ranked the least safe hospital in OHIO by consumer reports.

Amongst other crazy stories going around, like a patient who died in the parking lot in front of the UTMC internal medicine office in September or August.
Get on the ball IC!

The IC might as well be paid by UT since all they've been reporting on is PR friendly stories and on how UT is awesome and so darn relevant.

You guys should change your name to UTNews2. I think that'd be more appropriate, don't you?

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