Archive for January, 2013

FAMU censorship prompts new independent site

January 14, 2013
By Peter McKay | FAMU ’97 | Email

The Famuan staff, laboring under a constitutionally sketchy school-ordered delay in print publication this month, has instead published their work today on the new website This basically keeps them on their originally intended publication sked for the semester.

I’m really proud of editor Karl Etters and his team for sticking to their guns. I encourage other students, alumni, and faculty to check out this project, tell others in the community who might be interested, and keep coming back for your FAMU news.

I also hope that at least a few of the writers and editors will commit to making the new site into something awesome over the longer haul. The community could really use a new independent voice, regardless of what happens to the old-school print Famuan in the next few weeks.


Famuan stories welcome here

January 10, 2013
By Peter McKay | FAMU ’97 | Email

FAMU has put publication of The Famuan on hiatus through the end of the month following a libel suit by an ex-member of the Marching 100 related to a story about hazing last semester. The journalism dean says they’ll replace the adviser and take other steps to shore up journalistic standards during that time.

As you might expect, this has caused a lot of discussion among students and even alumni like myself today. People are concerned not just about the standards issues but also the extent to which the staff’s First Amendment rights and independence are being protected.

Personally, I’m a little puzzled because it would seem that contesting a libel suit and suspending publication is mixing apples and oranges. Publications of all sizes are sued for libel all the time for things they published previously, but that doesn’t mean they don’t put out the next edition while the litigation is pending. Journalism in the real world is very much a show-must-go-on sort of enterprise, and if nothing else, it sends a very bad message to students to undermine that idea.

With that in mind, I’ll gladly publish any stories here through month end that FAMU staff members would otherwise have printed in the Famuan. Just email me a draft, including a phone number where I can reach you. I’ll edit your copy myself, then publish it with your byline as a guest writer on the blog, so the information will still get out.

It’s an admittedly imperfect workaround, but hey, I’ll just throw it out there in case someone has use for it.