The Media School and IU Athletics are the newest power couple on campus. This partnership sparked uproar among IU journalism alumni and current journalism students alike.
The Media School is the new merger of several majors involving media across campus, namely journalism and telecommunications.
This collaboration is in part due to the development of the new Cuban Center, which will open in the spring of 2017, and the movement of the National Sports Journalism Center from IU-Purdue University Indianapolis to Bloomington this month.
The partnership is in part to allow Media School students access to technology at these two new services, particularly students studying journalism.
The Editorial Board also cannot help but see a conflict of interest within the partnership. Even though the two schools are collaborating in order to share technology, journalism students, who desire a level of independence, feel conflicted.
They worry that IU athletics will have power over independent news organizations like the Indiana Daily Student, IUSTV, WIUX and others.
Independence is the backbone of journalism.
While journalism evolves and adapts with technology, this freedom cannot be forgotten.
The IDS in particular prides itself on its own independence from the University, and we want our journalism to remain this way.
However, this partnership would compromise journalistic autonomy.
There are additional problems as well.
IU Athletics Assistant Director Jeremy Gray told the IDS Friday that iuhoosiers.com, the current IU Athletics sports website, is “mostly about broadcast and less about telling the story.”
We are afraid that this merge will benefit broadcast students more than print journalism students. While the two forms of media are extremely close the essence of print journalism, including sports journalism, is to tell the story.
Many journalism students who are fresh off the new Media school merger are bitter and angry about the partnership. Michael Sanserino, a former IDS editor in chief, spoke with the IDS earlier last week, saying, “What is the point of the partnership? Schools across the country are developing internship relationships without partnerships. It’s just too close of a relationship for comfort.”
The prestige and honor of graduating from the IU School of Journalism no longer exists, but falls into the massive Media School. And now the Media School seems to be growing even bigger by the minute.
True journalistic integrity does not seem to be the focus of this partnership.
And the Editorial Board believes this relationship has broken the healthy and necessary separation between independent news organizations and the athletics department.
How can audiences know with certainty the truth is being told? How do we know that IU Athletics won’t keep information from its reporters?
In this case, we cannot. Trust is lost when interests conflict.
If any discrepancies are to be cleared up, we ask IU Athletics to produce a clear and concise contract detailing its intentions and the issues addressed. Vagueness will only create further complications.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to trust IU Athletics. We simply do not understand the necessity or the true purpose of this partnership with the Media School.