As an exercise, I used to sometimes ask my students what they would do if the administration shut them down.
“What if they imposed unfair limits on your hours in the newsroom (nearly happened) or took away your computers?”
The answer was — thank God — always the same.
“We would take our own Macbooks and PCs, buy a pizza and a six-pack, find an apartment where one of us has high-speed internet and put out our paper.”
That is why I am such a fan of redanddead.com.
These students said in the most direct way that prior review is wrong. They quit the paper that sought to impose it on the student journalists that created one of the best student-run, student-produced, student-written and student-edited papers in the country.
But they didn’t stop there.
Tonight, the former staff of the University of Georgia’s Red & Black started producing original reporting content under another banner. They have four sections: News, Opinion, Sports and Variety. They don’t have advertisers. They don’t have a trained and habitual readership. But they have a Twitter account, @redanddead815, that obtained so many followers so quickly that it set off a spam warning and got the account temporarily suspended.
All that is good. But what they have that is great is guts. And the courage of their convictions. They could have stuck around, graduated and put that UGA imprimatur on their resumes. But the paper they built — and that thousands of Red & Black alumni built — was taken from them.
So, they got their laptops, iPads, cameras and whatever else they needed. They found an apartment with high-speed internet. I even bet there were some pizzas and six-packs involved. And they put out their paper.
Beat that shit with a stick.