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UF tells student paper to remove news racks on campus

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Thomas Goldkamp, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Wanted to get everyone's pulse on this. The University of Florida has told the student newspaper (an independent publication) to remove its news racks from campus. The university wants the paper to pay a licensing fee for the right to distribute the paper on campus. I'm not an alumnus of The Alligator, but I'm sure several on this board are. I believe the university has had a somewhat rocky relationship with the paper dating pretty far back, maybe someone else can speak more to that.

    Link: Student paper begins "Save the Racks" campaign
  2. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    In theory if they're independent I could see the University asking for some sort of licensing fee or whatever, especially if they charge other publications the same.

    Asking them to change to black modular racks instead though, to me, shows a disregard for history and a mean-spirit. I'm assuming kids/readers recognize the Alligator by the orange color...changing color would seem to hurt the brand.
  3. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    My alma mater's newspaper had a written agreement with the university from the 1970s that said, despite the newspaper's independent status, that the university would allow it to maintain its offices and distribution boxes for as long as it published, no strings attached. Of course, the offices basically had no maintenance work done to them for 30 years and the school was very restrictive when they added a new part of campus as to where the the distribution boxes could go. The relationship was tense, but this seems to be on another level entirely.
  4. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    The business of the university should be to help its students learn and prepare them for the real world.

    Maybe UF is teaching the students to embrace a future that doesn't include a printed newspaper.
  5. Here's some more information on it from the Miami Herald.

    The school claims it's a safety measure because the racks can become "projectiles" in bad weather. The school is also basically giving the paper three years of free distribution. However, if the paper keeps all 70 of its on-campus racks and moves them over to the ones the school is providing, eventually the cost will be $7,000 per year ($100 per rack).

    Link: UF newspaper in war of words with university
  6. BillyT

    BillyT Active Member

    What does the Herald pay for its racks on campus?
  7. Greenhorn

    Greenhorn Active Member

  8. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    If it's windy enough to launch a newspaper rack in the air, you've got larger issues than the newspaper rack.
  9. JPsT

    JPsT Member

    I knew what this would be before I clicked it...and I still clicked it.
  10. I'll preface this by saying I worked at this paper in college, but I still understand the charge for the racks. Sure, it'd be nice if the university would offer the space in the name of it benefiting its students (both those who work for the Alligator and those who read it). But the reality is that space is valuable, and I don't see how this is a First Amendment issue.

    And I don't know that saying the paper is harder to get on campus means a whole lot. When I worked there, it was the largest independent student-run publication in the country with a circulation size somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000-plus five days a week during the school year. There were boxes in every shopping plaza in town, miles and miles from campus. It was so widespread that on open house days, when we'd be having open interviews for staff writer positions, people who weren't even students would show up from the other side of town thinking it was just Gainesville's alternative paper. I know it's fallen on a bit of hard times, but I imagine there are still plenty of places this thing is available, so the campus is hardly its only outlet.

    There's a lot of contention between the paper and the student government - hell, even the UF administration - so I'm not surprised someone finally got smart enough to find a way to effectively bite back.
  11. The university is well within its rights here. Just seems like an unnecessary step to make a buck that will ultimately hurt a paper that offers a great number of students real-word experience that cannot be supplemented with extra classroom time.
  12. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    Sometimes traditions should just be left alone.
    The Alligator is an important part of campus life.
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