Jan 242008
Authors: Cece Wildeman

Some CSU students say a partnership with or takeover by Gannett with the Collegian could be beneficial, but only if the publication remains student-run and continues to be the student voice.

During the meeting Gannett was asked to submit a formal proposal discussing ways in which a merger would enhance faculty advisory participation as well as education and professional opportunities for student journalists.

Donna Rouner, journalism professor, said she is against the encroaching commercialism of universities and that she is generally concerned about market-driven journalism.

“We need to keep student journalism alive. There are already enough corporate buyouts,” she said.

The Gannett Company describes itself on its website as “a leading international news and information company”, the owners of 85 daily newspapers and 1,000 non-daily publications including USA Today. The section “Brief Company History” of the site touts Gannett as one of the most diverse news, information and communications companies in the country.

But critics of the news organization argue that the company has a reputation of “watering down” the newspapers that fall under its ownership. Top criticisms of the company claim a long history of slanting news coverage, cutting out in-depth reporting while cutting corners in the name of profit.

Many students are apprehensive about a potential takeover by Gannett.

Connor Parks, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said there is, generally, a loss of representation of people when they are working under a corporation, while Adrienne Merritt, a senior English major, said if Gannett owned the Collegian, it would change the face of the paper entirely and create a completely different experience for readers.

Thomas Andrews, a senior music major and former Collegian blogger, said he believed a partnership with the Coloradoan would be a good move.

“The content is getting worse and worse and worse. We need some guidance and Gannett could help with that, ” he said, “I think this is actually a smart move.”

He said the Collegian would still be student-run and that he doesn’t think a corporate push would occur.

Other students felt mixed emotions about the situation.

Ashley Grimes, a junior landscape architecture major, said that although the merger could be a helpful resume builder for Collegian employees, it could be counterproductive to have a student-run paper working under a corporation.

“The Collegian is a student-controlled news source, and I don’t know if it (the merger) would contribute to that goal,” she said.

Audrey LaSalle, a senior accounting major, said a partnership between Gannett and the university could undermine a collegiate free press.

“Administration says they don’t have control over the newspaper, but this could be an attempt to influence content,” LaSalle said.

Senior Reporter Cece Wildeman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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