Emerald Publisher Hired Four Months After Strike About Hiring a Publisher

More than four months after staffers at The Emerald, the University of Oregon student newspaper, staged a high-profile, socially-networked strike over the hiring of an outside publisher, an outside publisher (with an insider’s credibility) has been named.

According to The Eugene Register-Guard, the student paper’s board voted unaminously to hire Kellee Weinhold after a national search and a looksy at 80 candidates.  Understatement time: Weinhold *knows* the UO and Eugene media scenes.  In fact, she probably bleeds green and yellow.  She earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the university, taught journalism courses there, and spent time at both The Oregonian and Eugene Weekly.  She may or may not even own a pet duck.

As CMM and other outlets reported back in March, the Emerald temporarily stopped publishing in protest of its board’s attempts to name a publisher without properly addressing the publisher’s power over editorial content and possible conflicts of interest in respect to the person’s affiliation with the university.  Mediation ensued, an agreement was reached, and printing resumed.  And the latest step forward is Weinhold, an individual whom Emeraldites are expressing optimism about.

Current Emerald EIC (and former strike organizer) Allie Grasgreen says in a piece on the paper’s Web site: “I’m psyched to start working with Kellee. Her passion for college journalism is infectious, and she has the drive, ideas and understanding of media we need.”

Weinhold’s related PR statement: “I am excited to be joining such a storied program at a time of critical change for journalism. I look forward to supporting UO student journalists as they shape the future of the industry.”

Results of the new arrangement are of course still to be determined. I give her credit for excellently wording her introductory quote. Her role should be in support.  And most important, to any outside publisher: Let the students do the shaping.

Best of luck.

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