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.