Member News (8/23/18): Liberty vs. Liberty’s paper, a lot of Tronc news, retirements and more

By | 2018-08-23T19:45:41+00:00 August 23rd, 2018|
Liberty University clamps down on student paper

The Liberty Champion, the student newspaper for Liberty University in Lynchburg, is facing off with administration and journalism faculty members who don’t want the newspaper to publish stories that deal with certain subject matter.

“Don’t destroy the image of LU,” said Bruce Kirk, dean of the School of Communication and Digital Content, to Champion staffers. “Pretty simple. OK? Well you might say, ‘Well, that’s not my job, my job is to do journalism. My job is to be First Amendment. My job is to go out and dig and investigate, and I should do anything I want to do because I’m a journalist.’ So let’s get that notion out of your head. OK?”

According to news reports, university president, Jerry Falwell, has repeatedly had both opinion pieces and news stories spiked because of subject matter. By proxy, faculty members in the communications school have also spiked articles that dealt with subjects they did not want written about.

Spiked stories dealt with varying subjects, ranging from President Trump to Liberty’s on-campus pro-life ministry and its treatment of unmarried female students that became pregnant.

For the upcoming academic year, the university has now re-organized the newspaper’s chain of command and is requiring stories to go through an approval process before publication.

The administration now is also requiring student newspaper staffers who receive scholarships to sign non-disclosure agreements that state that scholarships are contingent on their adherence to the, “Newspaper Rules throughout the fall and spring semesters of the 2018-2019 academic year.”

Read more.

Tronc looking at selling Pilot’s office building

The Virginian-Pilot‘s new owner is considering selling one of the most valuable assets it acquired when buying the paper in late May–the Pilot’s longtime downtown Norfolk office building, according to statements made by leadership in a recent earnings call with shareholders.

The office building is the major real-estate asset Tronc is considering off loading, but it’s not the only piece of property the company wants to sell. When buying the paper, Tronc also acquired the Pilot‘s Virginia Beach printing plant and “a few” satellite offices in Virginia and North Carolina. It plans to sell these properties as well.

Tronc has estimated the value of the entire real-estate package at $30.5 million. The Pilot has been in its current office since the mid-1930s.

No listings for any of the real estate have been made, but the rumor of a potential sale has piqued the interest of developers in Norfolk, according to aPilot article.

Read more.

Va. Gazette ad director to retire in the fall

Longtime advertising director at the Virginia Gazette, Olivia Hartman, announced that she will be retiring from the paper effective October 1.

Hartman has been the Gazette’s advertising director for 17 years.

“When I began my newspaper career, my first publisher said ‘Olivia – Ink will get in your bones’ – and so it did,” Hartman said. “I have loved the ups and downs and fast pace of the environment, working with local clients to build their community awareness and grow their business. It has never been boring a day in 26 years. I am proud to be a part of a product that keeps our communities informed with integrity and objective.”

Lori Waran, publisher and general manager of Style Weekly, will take over as media sales manager at the Gazette and the Tidewater Review. She will retain her role as publisher and GM at Style.

Daily Press, Pilot to share managing editor

Ryan Gilchrest, editor at the Daily Press and VPA board member, will now serve as the managing editor at both the Press and the Virginian-Pilot.

This is the second major newsroom shift for the Pilot and the Press. Shortly after the Tronc purchase of the Pilot in late May, it was announced that Marissa Porto–longtime Press publisher–would serve as the Pilot‘s executive director.

Inside Business publisher to retire; IB, Pilot to merge operations

Mike Herron, publisher of Inside Business, which is now owned by Tronc, announced that he will be retiring from the publication.

Herron took over as Inside Business‘s publisher in 2015. He has worked for theVirginian-Pilot for the past 35 years.

“I have had a great run at The Virginian-Pilot and Inside Business; however, it is time I move on to pursue new interests,” Herron said.

As part of a restructuring of its Virginia publications, not including its newspapers, Tronc has created a new holding company, Virginia Media.

Read more.

RTD reporter moves to Va. Business

Michael O’Connor, a former reporter at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has left the newspaper and is now working at Virginia Business Magazine.

Galax Gazette publisher retires

The Galax Gazette and the Declaration (Independence) have a new publisher.

Longtime Gazette and Declaration publisher, Chuck Burress, retired at the beginning of the month after serving in the role for 29 years. Burress spent more than 40 years working for Landmark Media. Prior to working as the publisher in Galax, he worked as a reporter and editor for the Roanoke Times in the New River Valley bureau.

Burress is succeeded by former Gazette and Declaration ad director, Randy Kegley. Kegley has been with the two newspapers since 1998.