Student Media Adviser Fired in Wake of NC State Censorship

I cringed slightly when I read the announcement on a college media advisers’ list-serv.  North Carolina State University is seeking a new student media director– after just removing its old one.

As CMM readers might recall, NC State was recently the setting for one of the more high-profile censorship cases of summer 2011.  Last month, administrators there first temporarily stopped distribution and then later covered up a portion of a student newsmagazine that innocently contained a racial epithet.  (The term appeared in a photo of the school’s famed Free Expression Tunnel.)

One of the, frankly, shocking offshoots of the situation: the firing of the school’s campus media coordinator Bradley Wilson.   The action was completed under the cloak of a very slight redefinition– apparently the position now is known as a director instead of a coordinator and its recipient must now report through a different hierarchy.  (As one adviser noted on a list-serv, “It seems they’ve put lipstick on a pig and said it’s a prom queen.”)

But its suddenness and timing– not to mention officials’ apparent unwillingness to consider Wilson for basically the same job he has been doing for years– leave little doubt that the whole shebang is at least partially in response to the censorship saga.

My take: Sad.  By all accounts, Wilson is an impassioned and beloved adviser.  His absence is certainly a loss for the school, its students, and its student media.  Given the putrid economy and porous media landscape, many journos will most likely apply to replace him.  If you are one of them, without any drama or cynicism, I’d say just be careful and get a full sense of the formal and off-the-record restraints that will be placed upon the student press you will oversee.

Another adviser’s take: “[T]he stunning termination of one of our colleagues there was not only incredibly disrespectful, but a surprisingly blatant attack on free student expression.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to work for people who operate that way.”

Here’s the full ad:

Director for Student Media Advising, full-time EPA position #00007262

Reports to:     Center for Student Leadership, Ethics, & Public Service

Division:       Student Affairs

As a public forum for free expression, the student media at North Carolina State University exist to inform and to entertain, first and foremost, the students followed by members of the surrounding community and peers in the journalism profession. Located in the Witherspoon Student Center, Student Media Advising is part of the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics & Public Service in the Division of Student Affairs. Student Media Advising provides leadership and advisement to the award-winning student media groups including the Agromeck (campus yearbook), the Nubian Message (weekly African-American newspaper), the Technician (daily campus newspaper), WKNC 88.1fm (25,000 watt campus radio station), Windhover (annual literary and visual arts journal), Wolf TV (campus cable and online video outlet) and student business office.

The primary function of the Director for Student Media Advising is to provide leadership for the department and supervision of the full-time staff.  In addition, the Director works directly with the student staff members of the NC State Student Media and the members of the Student Media Board of Directors in an instructional and advisory capacity. The director assists the operation of the media by working with students to develop management and leadership skills, develop proper procedures for utilization of resources, and serves as an adviser to the Student Media. The director assists students’ development by teaching media ethics, civic journalism and the role of media in society by supporting and challenging them to grow as individuals and media professionals.  As public forums for free student expression, student editors/managers have final control over content in all cases, without prior review.  The director is a member of the leadership team in Student Affairs.

Specific duties include:

•       Supervise and provide leadership for the full-time Media staff including the assistant director, business manager, systems administrator, production assistant, and office manager.

•       Oversee the student media operation which includes approximately 300 student leaders and staff members.

•       Oversee budget of over $825,000 including student fees, advertising and sponsorship revenue.

•       Assist with annual auxiliary budget development, as well as helping each media develop an advertising plan to ensure adequate resources.

•       Ensure proper training for all student staff including technical skills, design and production, media ethics, supervision, communication skills, leadership and management skills.

•       Advise student leaders on legal issues including libel, slander, and copyright infringement in collaboration with Student Legal Services.

•       Ensure compliance with all FCC regulations for WKNC radio.

•       Responsible for overseeing facility maintenance (equipment repair/surplus).

•       Maintain unit Emergency Action Plan including business continuity plan.

•       Provide guidance in the design and production of publications.

•       Assist student editors and managers in recruiting and training both paid and volunteer student staff.

•       Advise the Student Media Board of Directors on issues of policy, budget, and media ethics.

•       Represent the unit on university committees and at appropriate professional organizational conferences and meetings.

•       Prepare appropriate university reports (i.e. annual report, unit assessment plan, etc.)

— 

Preferred Qualifications:

* Masters degree in journalism, college student personnel, business, or related area

* Prior experience in student-oriented media operation

* Three to five years experience in a student centered environment

— 

Required Qualifications:

* Bachelors degree in journalism, college student personnel, business, or related area

* Demonstrated experience with media-related operations.

* Demonstrated leadership experience and skills

* Demonstrated experience working with students

To Apply:

All application must be submitted online at http://jobs.ncsu.edu

Search for position 00007262, or you can go directly to the posting by

clicking the link below.

http://jobs.ncsu.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=91574

Applications must include a cover letter, resume, and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three professional references.  Applications received by August 30, 2011 will receive priority consideration.

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  1. […] administrators terminated Bradley after repurposing the position as “director” instead of “coordinator.” Apparently Bradley, who had led the student media since 2003, is not qualified for the altered job […]



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