Feb 072008

In the past month, the Coloradoan had a small blurb on plans to pursue a partnership to run CSU’s Collegian.

I winced as I read it, and expected there would be more conversation, but the election seems to have everyone with their minds elsewhere.

Meanwhile, I can’t ignore the feeling in my stomach as another step away from the American hallmark of diverse media is in the making.

I am a CSU journalism grad from the mid-80s.

I participated in two school papers at that time, and contributed some articles for the Coloradoan, before Gannett purchased it.

More recently, I worked administratively for the Coloradoan in their new building. I’ve been witness to the struggles of a business caught in changing times.

Before cost and profit has either side wagging its tail, I assert that there would be no educational benefit for the journalism students, or news benefit for their community.

Already, those students who would like to intern with the town’s paper may apply to do so.

News and production staff from the “real” world are usually happy to share their wisdom.

Without knowing the details, whatever scheme Gannett is cooking for CSU must be financially motivated, as they are grappling to stay relevant while print media becomes more obsolete.

Let Gannett pursue the Internet, cell phones or other venues, but for the sake of media diversity and our students, hands off college newspapers. Do not allow even a small amount of control by corporate compromise.

Radical as it may seem, when I was in CSU and The Coloradoan was sold, many of my fellow student journalists called Gannett the “Dark Lord.”

One of my senior assignments for professor Garrett Ray was about alternative and underground media. My conclusion was that truly no journalism is unbiased, and we would all do well to simply consider the source, rather than trust mainstream media over more radical elements.

The mere act of choosing which story to report begins the bias. I still believe this.

With commissions and rallies, Fort Collins seems intent on protecting diversity. This should include diversity of thought, not just culture and skin color.

I hope the best for those whose incomes depend on our town’s daily paper, but I also hope the best for the students of CSU. CSU already has loads of commercial interests evident. I was around when fast food moved into the student union and the “Dark Lord” bought the town paper.

Over two decades later, the shift toward corporate control hasn’t ceased.

If at no other time in their lives, we should keep corporate compromises away from college journalists.

As sophomoric as it may have been, I’ll take “TASER THIS” anytime over the Coloradoan “looking forward” to a Collegian partnership.

Sonia Koetting is a Fort Collins resident and alumnus of CSU. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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