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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

University of Nebraska administrators refuse to speak with campus newspaper

Top administrators at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln have been advised not to speak with The Daily Nebraskan reporters but rather to refer them to the university's public relations office. Harvey Perlman, the university's chancellor, says that policy will change if the newspaper staff withdraws its numerous FOIA requests.
The relationship between a university and its student newspaper is typically one of give and take. Some of this professional courtesy, however, has fallen by the wayside at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

In response to numerous sweeping Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by The Daily Nebraskan, the university is now denying student reporters direct access to top administrators for interviews. All information and comment previously sought from these individuals must now be gathered from the institution’s public relations office.

The administration claims the student newspaper’s recent history of seeking broad and, some argue, pointless FOIA requests of the university has burdened their previously harmonious working relationship. Student journalists at The Nebraskan, however, maintain that their document requests are within reason and that the university’s new policy of shielding administrators from interviews is hurting the newspaper’s coverage.

More here.

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