Administrator Hatches Plan to Deal With Pesky Student Reporters: His Own Newspaper

An official at San Antonio College who once refused to be interviewed by student reporters unless they paid him has found another way to get his voice out there. He wants to publish his own newspaper.

Jorge Posadas, the college’s student-life director, has proposed tacking $70,000 onto the student-activities budget for the production costs of a new newspaper, which would be managed by a member of the student-activities staff. According to The Ranger, the already-extant student paper, the president of the college has rejected the plan, saying, “In our eyes, The Ranger is the student newspaper, and it does a fantastic job reporting the news for us.”

If only Mr. Posadas agreed. He said to The Ranger, in an interview for which we presume he didn’t collect a fee, “Well, I’m in the student center, and so I see students all day long, and most of them don’t even know there’s a student newspaper.”

In February a petition circulated in the student-life department calling for an investigation into The Ranger’s reporting practices. The petition did not cite individual stories. It did, however, mention “typos” as a grievance. Given that Mr. Posadas’s opinion is that no one knew about the paper, it’s hard to imagine how so many representatives of student clubs and organizations were located to sign it.

Perhaps more important, Mr. Posadas wanted the new paper to be a “liberated” voice on the campus. Since The Ranger’s reports are assigned and moderated by faculty, said Mr. Posadas, it is not an independent voice.

Marianne Odom, media-communications chair and the paper’s adviser, countered that the staff of The Ranger is made up of student editors who submit applications, are interviewed by the student-publication board, and receive a stipend, something that even the most rookie of reporters might have gleaned.

But in the end, the plan for a new, independent voice for the student-life director may have failed for utterly prosaic financial reasons. The budget for the new paper required adding a dollar to every San Antonio College student’s activity fee, which would go from $1 to $2.

Ms. Odom said: “I don’t think I could support student-activity fees’ being doubled to contribute to a student-life newspaper when the activity fee does not support the nationally recognized student newspaper the college already has.”

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