Student Publications To Undergo Reorganization

April 17, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Effective June 1, Baylor University's student-produced newspaper, yearbook and semi-annual magazine, will report to a new nine-member Student Publications Board to be chaired by Dr. Wallace L. Daniel Jr., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The reorganization follows a year-long study that solicited input from the Journalism Executive Council, an advisory group to the Journalism Department that includes journalists and other communications professionals, many of whom are Baylor graduates. Baylor alumnus and former Baylor Lariat editor Dr. Paul Parsons, professor and journalism head at Kansas State University, served as a consultant for the study, which included interviews with students, faculty and administrators. The study's recommendations were approved by Baylor President Robert B. Sloan Jr. on April 3.

Designed to improve the quality of student publications, the reorganization includes the addition of two new full-time staff members, a restructuring of the director of student publications position, and an increase in compensation for editors and staff writers for The Baylor Lariat, the University's 100-year-old campus newspaper.

"I am very pleased with the outcome of this study," said Dr. Donald D. Schmeltekopf, provost and vice president for academic affairs. "The intent from the beginning was to examine ways to strengthen the publications while maintaining a laboratory environment. I believe the additional staff support and increased compensation for editors and writers will attract greater competition for Lariat positions and will provide an enhanced educational experience for our students. Furthermore, placing the publications under a Student Publications Board will provide for clearer accountability to the campus community."

The new full-time Lariat positions will include a news director, who will provide professional staff leadership and direction to the news-editorial and photography staff, and a technology supervisor, who will provide hardware and software support for the print and online editions of the newspaper. The student publications director position will be replaced by a new general manager position, which will oversee business operations, including advertising, for the Lariat, the Round Up and Focus, the semi-annual magazine.

Dr. Douglas R. Ferdon Jr., chair of the Journalism Department, will serve as vice chair of the Student Publications Board. Other representatives on the board will include the associate vice president for communications, a second journalism faculty representative, chair of the Communication Studies Department, chair or chair's designee of the university's Communications/Media Committee, and an at-large faculty member to be chosen by other members of the board and approved by the provost. The news director and general manager will serve as ex officio members.

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