After two dramatic days, The Red & Black might once again have student editors with final say on content

Part of a statement from Red and Dead, the website created two days ago but the student editors who left en masse on Wednesday evening from the independent newspaper The Red & Black that covers University of Georgia news:

We, the former staff of The Red & Black, are thankful and excited for the progress that has been made today, following the afternoon meeting with representatives from the Board of Directors. Prior review is off the table; student editors retain final content approval. Ed Morales, who was promoted earlier this month to the role of editorial director, made it clear that he has returned to his role as editorial adviser. And Ed Stamper, a board member who authored an internal draft of a memo that called for new content guidelines, tendered his resignation. These actions are signs of forward momentum, resolving many of our concerns regarding the editorial direction of the organization.

Former Editor in Chief Polina Marinova and former Managing Editor Julia Carpenter will reapply for their positions.

It was obvious on Wednesday night that the board of directors of the 501c3 nonprofit that runs the paper should take these very steps, but in a curious and sad example of an organization either not grasping and/or not responding to a media storm engulfing them, the board waited. And waited.

In today’s media world, two days can seem like a long, long time.

In those two days, the Red and Dead Twitter account picked up over 4,000 followers. The Red and Dead Facebook page picked up over 3,000 likes. There was national coverage of the controversy — which reached a breaking point when the absurd memo referenced above was released — in myriad publications, including The New York Times. (I made a post to Peach Pundit outlining the parameters of the controversy on Wednesday night.)

And today’s “open house” was not orchestrated well. The publisher, Harry Montevideo — who made about $200,000 last year — got into a physical altercation with a Grady Newsource reporter who is apparently considering filing suit. There’s more from Grady Newsource. Montevideo’s statement would not seem to match the images and audio below, but those things can be deceiving to some degree.

Here’s the video of the incident:

Here’s a still image of that scene:

According to the tweets in the RedandDead815 stream, Montevideo was not on hand for the later discussions between board members, paid staff, and the student editorial team, some of whom will reapply for their positions.