Student Media at Appalachian State University
Role of University Administration in Student Media
Supervision of Student Publications at Appalachian State University rests with the Lee H McCaskey Center for Student Involvement and Leadership in the Division of Student Development. Student Publications is defined as The Appalachian student newspaper, The Peel literary-arts magazine, and any future publication produced by students. The Assistant Director for Student Engagement is responsible for fiscal supervision, production support, and editorial advice. Supervision of WASU-FM radio station rests with the Department of Communication. An adviser, appointed from within that department, is responsible fiscal supervision, production support, and editorial advice.
Role of Student Publications Advisor
The Assistant Director for Student Engagement is to provide resources for students to learn the responsibilities of a free press, to help them develop appropriate leadership and management skills, and insure proper technical support for production of a twice-weekly student newspaper and a yearbook, and any future student-produced publications. These publications shall be produced in an economically efficient manner. To fulfill these obligations, the Director may work with the student leadership of each publication in orientation sessions, budget planning and review, workshops, and special classes in leadership and organizational development. As an adviser, the Director shall be available to counsel members of the newspaper staff, the yearbook staff, and the staff of any future student publication; provide advice at times appropriate determined by the Director and/or the student staff; and promote a healthy understanding of collegiate journalism to the University community. The Director holds no authority to censor or otherwise control content of any student publication, to review copy prior to publication, or to practice prior restraint. However, the Director does have the authority to halt distribution and to have removed from distribution points copies of any student publication in which it has been determined a legal liability exists. The Director serves as the chief financial officer of each student publication with the responsibility of determining the operating budget for each publication. The Director holds sole responsibility for business office operations.
The Appalachian is the recognized student newspaper at Appalachian State University. It operates as a part of the Office of Student Publications in the Lee H McCaskey Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, which operates within the Division of Student Development. As a university newspaper, The Appalachian has two primary functions: (1) to serve as an instructional tool, provide practical experience in management, reporting, and print production for interested students; and (2) to provide timely, accurate, and entertaining reports to the public about the people and events that affect the University community.
The Appalachian has an editorial division, led by the editor in chief and associate editors for news, online and production; a business/advertising division; and a production division. The Appalachian employs a combined staff of reporters, business assistants and sales representatives and graphic designers. This combined staff numbers approximately 35 students.
The primary responsibilities of the editor in chief of The Appalachian includes organizational planning and personnel management. The editor is responsible for working with the business manager and the Assistant Director for Student Engagement to maintain the organization’s budget, and with the Director for training staff, establishing and maintaining editorial deadlines which conform to predetermined schedules for typesetting, layout and printing of the paper
The editor in chief determines the editorial tone of The Appalachian as it is presented on the editorial pages and works with the associate editor for news and each beat reporter to define the content of each issue of the paper. The editor in chief is responsible for all content of The Appalachian, including advertising.
The associate editor for production is responsible for oversight of the newspaper’s photography department, cartoonists and graphic designers. The associate editor for production is responsible for the design specifications for page layout.
The associate editor for news is responsible for the editorial content of The Appalachian, including oversight of reporters and desk editors. Desk editors and the associate editor for news shall edit all copy for publication. There are three desk editors: lifestyles, sports and news.
The associate editor for online is responsible for The Appalachian Online. This includes coordination of online exclusives, such as calendar events, multimedia packages and story exclusives, as well as the upload of all content from the physical newspaper. The online editor is also responsible for moderating comments to stories, and reports directly to the editor in chief.
The business manager works with the editor in chief and the Assistant Director for Student Engagement to plan and prepare the newspaper’s budget to meet the needs of The Appalachian and to insure that sufficient advertising revenue is generated to fulfill recommended budgetary requirements as approved by the Vice Chancellor for Student Development. The business manager works with the Assistant Director for Student Engagement to train the ad sales staff and the circulation manager.
Student Media Board Selection, Dismissal of Editor and Business Manager
The editor in chief of the student newspaper, the editor of the yearbook, and the editor of any future student publication are appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Development, while the business manager of the student newspaper is appointed by the Assistant Director for Student Engagement. The Student Media Board accepts and reviews applications for each position, interviews qualified candidates, and makes a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor and the Assistant Director for Student Engagement. The Board has the responsibility of reviewing the performance of each student appointed as editor in chief of the student newspaper, editor of the yearbook, or business manager for the student newspaper and may, in its own judgment or at the request of any individual, investigate questions of malfeasance, negligence, or incompetence and recommend appropriate recourse to the Vice Chancellor for Student Development.
Selection and Dismissal of Student Publications Staff Members
As an agency of the State of North Carolina, Appalachian State University follows the policy of affirmative action in employment practices. As agencies of the University, The Appalachian and The Rhododendron should follow a similar policy for the sake of consistency and to allow qualified but previously unknown candidates to surface to prevent favoritism from pervading the organization. Such policy should not deter either staff from recruiting and grooming staff members for promotion from within.
Following the lines of responsibilities and boundaries of authority that prevail in any organization, individuals should be employed and dismissed by the supervisor to whom they report. It is advisable, however, for the editor in chief, associate editors for news and production, chief copy editor, photography editor, or business manager (for The Appalachian), and editor of The Rhododendron to be aware of the qualifications of individuals employed or of problems which developed before the termination of employment.
As organizations that have an educational purpose, employees of The Appalachian, The Rhododendron and any future student publication should take all possible steps to avoid dismissing employees. The supervisor in charge must make sure the individual in question fully understands his/her responsibilities and has been given every opportunity to improve her/his skills. When performance falls below the necessary or expected, the supervisor in charge should review the responsibilities of the position in question with the employee, clearly state expectations, and provide a fair timetable for improvement to take place. At the same time ways should be offered for the individual to improve his/her skills. No individual should ever be dismissed without at least one conference with her/his supervisor to discuss the problems and solutions. Appeals for punitive action or dismissal may be reviewed by one or more of the following ways, in the stated order: (1) The individual, supervisor, and editor or business manager; (2) the editorial board of The Appalachian (or when appropriate, the editorial board of The Rhododendron); (3)the individual, supervisor, editor and Assistant Director for Student Engagement; (4) the Student Media Board; (5) the Vice Chancellor for Student Development.
Student Publications will conduct several workshops, starting with the Editor-in-Chief pre-fall staff development workshop and including workshops on news writing, news editing, photography, ad sales, production and computer use. These workshops are mandatory for Student Publications employees. These workshops are a part of each employee's employment contract and no exceptions shall be allowed.
Open Meetings Law: the revised N.C. open meetings law states that all public bodies hold their meetings in public, allowing any person to attend. Public bodies may go into executive session and exclude the public only to discuss matters of property or personnel. For the complete text of the N.C. open meetings law, refer to Section 1. G.S. Chapter 143, Article 33C, ratified May 28, 1979.
ASU Box 9025
STE 217, Plemmons Student Union
Boone, NC 28608
828-262-2157 (business office)