At SMU, a Big Fight Erupts Over Its Little Newspaper as Daily Campus Alumni Fear Censorship

Who killed Student Media Company, the independent nonprofit that published Southern Methodist University's independent campus newspaper?SMU professor and journalism division chair Tony Pederson says it wasn't him, despite what mad-as-hell alumni of The Daily Campus might think. "It just didn't work here," said Pederson, a veteran newsman who once served as The Houston Chronicle's executive editor. "It didn't work from a financial standpoint, and there was nothing that we could do really to prop it up to the extent that would have to happen."Almuni of The Daily Campus don't dispute all of that. The Student Media Company did run out of money. But a hostile relationship with the university's journalism department and inept management of the Student Media Company dragged The Daily Campus down, they say. What's at stake is much more than just a little campus newspaper. SMU is a crucial private institution in Dallas with a $1.6 billion endowment and nearly 12,000 students. The Daily Campus was the primary independent voice covering a place that isn't subject to open records laws like a public university. The question now — as The Daily Campus is folded into the university's journalism division — is whether that independence will be quashed. It's a question with national resonance. The failure of Student Media Company has sparked a movement to save independent journalism at other American universities.   Continue reading...

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