Collegiate Times Shake-Up: Virginia Tech Paper Loses Top Editors, GM & Two Other Pro Staffers

The Collegiate Times, the student newspaper at Virginia Tech, and its affiliated media company are undergoing a dramatic leadership and staff shake-up. The paper’s editor-in-chief and two professional staff members are no longer in their respective positions. In addition, the general manager of the pub’s advisory organization is reportedly leaving at semester’s end and one of the EIC’s replacements has just given his two weeks notice very publicly and angrily on Twitter.

According to trusted sources with knowledge of the situation, financial constraints recently led to the layoffs of longtime design and production adviser S.B. Chandler and accounting and sales adviser Dorothy Deverin.

Carrie Cousins will also be vacating her position as general manager of the CT’s overseeing organization, the Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech (EMCVT). She is apparently set to move on when the spring term wraps in May to pursue an employment opportunity more suitable to her interests and skill-set. It is unclear at this time whether the precarious financial state of the organization or concerns others have expressed to me about the EMCVT Board of Directors may have spurred or hastened her exit.

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Front-page screenshots from the four most recent Collegiate Times print issues, including today’s edition (top left).

Along with the Collegiate Times, the EMCVT works with Virginia Tech’s student radio station, student television station, yearbook, literary and arts magazine and an advertising agency.

As of this posting, the company website continues to list Chandler, Cousins and Deverin as staff members.

Separately, on the Collegiate Times website, Erica Corder is still listed as the paper’s editor-in-chief. Yet, that is also no longer current. Corder was let go from her EIC position late last month. The EMCVT Board of Directors approved her termination, based upon the recommendation of the company’s Management Advisory Team (MAT).

According to company bylaws, the Board of Directors is comprised of Virginia Tech faculty, staff and students, many of whom serve as the top editors/leaders or in advisory capacities to student media. The MAT, meanwhile, is doubled up with some of those same leaders/advisers, along with related business managers, ad directors and the EMCVT general manager and advertising adviser.

Collegiate Times managing editors Ricky LaBlue and Kevin Dickel were charged with at least temporarily stepping in jointly to lead the paper in Corder’s absence. While not presented in that capacity on the CT’s online staff page, they are now listed as co-editors-in-chief in the masthead of the paper’s print edition.

Dickel though is apparently fed up with the EMCVT and announced his pending departure from the Collegiate Times last night via Twitter. He also posted several other negative tweets about the media company.

It is unclear exactly what led to Corder’s ouster, but it does not appear linked to the financial troubles that felled Chandler and Deverin. Corder, a sophomore political science and English major at Virginia Tech, took over as EIC in December. She previously served as the CT’s news editor and as a staff writer, photographer and distribution agent.

I most recently featured Corder on CMM in a photo she provided showing a trio of CT editors posing for a fun pic after coincidentally wearing the same CT shirt to the newsroom.

I most recently featured Corder (center) on CMM in a photo she provided showing a trio of CT editors posing for the camera after coincidentally wearing the same CT shirt to the newsroom.

I have been in touch with Corder. While we have discussed the matter privately, she is not yet ready to publicly provide her perspective on the termination. I have welcomed her to continue as a spring 2015 CMM Fellow, an invitation which she has initially accepted. (To be clear, she was not a source for this post.)

The CT has not addressed the news of Corder’s termination in any form in the four print editions published since the ouster became official. The news is also not publicly confirmed on the paper’s website or social media feeds or at least is so hidden that this longtime college media reader cannot locate it. In one of the four print editions, however, the paper did run a staff editorial on the importance of transparency in government.

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