Taylor Surine, Staff Writer
Over the summer, Georgia Southern’s student media director, David Simpson, Armstrong’s academic advisor for the Inkwell, Tony Morris, and the Inkwell staff met to discuss the needs of Armstrong’s student newspaper in light of the consolidation.
Simpson would act as a voice for the Inkwell at consolidation meetings to make sure everyone’s needs were met, both the Inkwell’s and the students’. Simpson reached out to us in June, saying “My top concern in all student media matters is how well it serves the audience – students on campus.”
On June 9th we met with Simpson and the conversation centered on comparing and contrasting Armstrong’s student life with Georgia Southern’s student life. Simson was very understanding that the two schools are in different locations that house two different campus personalities.
We explained to Simpson that our campus is close-knit and we thrive on our friendships. In fear of losing our paper altogether, we explained how Armstrong’s student editors sitting next to their audience in class every day benefits students by making them feel comfortable enough to have a voice in important campus issues. A paper only housed in Statesboro wouldn’t have his effect.
Simpson attended the presidential-level consolidation meeting and forwarded us the recommendations:
Recommend all Student Media products be branded under the George-Anne name and look. The George-Anne will have one print publication with two editions.
Explanation of Recommendation: The look and feel of the paper should be the same. Each community will receive information specific to their physical location. Due to the distance between the three campuses and the uniqueness of each campus, we will customize publications to reflect the student experience.
Simpson explained, “The Armstrong staff would have complete control of the Armstrong edition of the George-Anne,” which gave us comfort; however, these recommendations caused us to become concerned with losing the Inkwell name that students have come to know and love since 1935. Simpson quickly informed us that he would “acknowledge that [we] were not in favor of dropping the Inkwell name” at the consolidation meeting.
The student media recommendations were put on the agenda for the consolidation meeting following the meeting with Simpson, but were delayed for further discussion. Simpson then added Interim Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Andrew Dies, to the email thread between Simpson and the Inkwell staff.
To compromise on the name change, Dies said, “I am proposing we change the recommendation to read: ‘All student media products be branded under the George-Anne name and look. The George-Anne will have one print publication with two editions: the George-Anne: Statesboro Edition and the George-Anne: Inkwell Edition.’”
The consolidation meeting finally happened, and the recommendations were approved with no change. Simpson stated, “Beginning fall 2018, there will be two independent newspapers: the George-Anne: Statesboro Edition and the George-Anne: Inkwell Edition.”
Simpson then added, “I believe editors on both campuses will find it appropriate to use content generated on another campus. And it will make sense to have collaboration to cover university- wide topics, possibly down to sharing bylines on articles. But editors on each campus will make decisions to use that content on a case-by-case basis and will display it as they see fit in their own editions.”
The Inkwell staff looks forward to using this year to find out what Armstrong students need from their editors and will do what it takes to deliver newsworthy content to keep students informed and interested.