Agreed: don't keep WFDD under public relations office
Originally published in Current Oct. 18, 1999
The Wake Forest University public relations official who censored the university's public radio station last month has recommended that WFDD be transferred to another office of the university.
Sandra Boyette, v.p. for university advancement, stirred controversy early in September by ordering the station not to report fully on a controversial decision by Wake Forest's trustees to deny permission for a same-sex marriage on the campus in Winston-Salem, N.C. Little more than a month later, Oct. 11, Boyette announced she has recommended to the university president that he consider selecting "a different administrative oversight for the station."
A faculty advisory committee appointed by President Thomas K. Hearn Jr. recommended the same day that WFDD should report to the provost instead of Boyette "because of an inherent conflict between the necessary goals of fundraising and public relations and the station's need for independence in its coverage of news regarding the university." Within the station, the functions of fundraising and news coverage should also be separated, the committee advised.
"The university must affirm unequivocally that WFDD has complete independence in its editorial decisions, newsgathering and news reporting," the committee advised.
WFDD News Director Michelle Johnson endorsed removing the station from the oversight of the public relations office. The change is "long overdue," she said, "but it took a crisis to bring it to public attention."
Boyette pledged that "no one [at WFDD] will be demoted, disciplined or fired because of the event that occurred in September." Program Director Paul Brown remained on paid leave at his request.
Web page Oct. 20, 1999
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