President Mangum to Launch the “Official” Newspaper

Reggie Mizell, Famuan

"It won't be the FAMUAN. It'll be a real newspaper, like the Wall Street Journal," University President Elmira Mangum said last week while chatting with student editors after the Legacy Banquet.

Mangum, along with administrators, are ready to launch the university’s “official newspaper” on Friday.

The university’s student-run newspaper, the FAMUAN (apparently not the official newspaper), has been publishing for more than 50 years, and, for the most part is successful with its publication, attracting national attention as well as winning awards and providing training for students.

According to College Media Advisers president, Rachele Kanigel, publishing a newspaper by administrators could be an issue, but not a very large one.

“I can understand your concern, and I think it’s clear that you are the voice of the students,” Kanigel said. “Whatever the university decides to put out in its publication, that’s fine. They can do that, but that’s not the official news coming from the university. You [student media] are the newspaper. You are the student voice, and you are the news organization that covers the campus from the student perspective and from multiple perspectives. When something is coming from the university, that’s not multiple perspectives.”

Kanigel concluded her statement by saying that reporting information such as faculty research, a professor coming out with a book, or an unveiling of a new wellness center is not news. It is just information, not objective news coverage, she said.

So why start a Wall Street Journal-like newspaper now?

Good question. We want to know, too.

After our conversation that night, we contacted the Office of the University President for clarification. There was no response. The Vice President of University Advancement and the University Provost also did not provide a response.

Produced by her office? Sponsored by advertisers?

A building is centered around editing, writing, publishing, basically everything dealing with media writing; however we were not a part of the “official newspaper.” Mangum did offer us a student column in the paper, but we declined.

Mangum said that she had sponsors for her publication. We are in the midst of a “budget struggle” in student media. The Famuan’s current budget is $10,000, maybe enough to support one publication each semester, maybe. As of Aug. 27, Journey Magazine’s budget is $1,643, which is less than a student’s financial aid. 

In our efforts to raise money for the publications, the president and administrators seem to have found support for their new publication. They have managed to get money from organizations to support a publication that has not proven it can succeed.

Who knew about this project?

The idea of an "official newspaper" has been secretive. No notice of a launch has been publicized. Student media editors were not solicited to promote it on any of their mediums, i.e. newspaper, radio, or social networks. Mangum actually spoke to a class in the SJGC building and did not mention anything about it to a room full of journalists and reporters. I guess this is what happens when one of those journalists who were sitting in that class found out.

The answer is, no one knew, no one except the crew, who apparently can hold more water than an ocean.