Reading Below the Fold, and Between the Lines

After a member of the La Salle University’s faculty hosted an optional symposium with special guests (read: exotic dancers), the editors of the university’s  paper The Collegian knew they had a story on their hands.

Executive Editor Vinny Valla and The Collegian staff address the "above the fold" ultimatum.

One of the Collegian staff members interviewed two students who had attended the conference, as well as university officials and the professor himself.  But the Dean of Students kiboshed running the story until after the university finished its investigation.

In the meanwhile, a blog broke the story –as strippers at a Catholic university event are going to make news– and other media outlets followed up.  But the contents of those articles contradicted the eye-witness, on-the-record statements gathered by The Collegian.  When the paper was finally allowed to publish, the university barred them from running the story (which was already in the commercial press!) “above the fold.”

And as you can see from the picture, The Collegian complied with that request, albeit with an innovative use of layout and margins.

Frank LoMonte, Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center, says:

“I think what we are seeing at La Salle belongs under the headline, above-the-fold, of ‘censorship fail.’ Had the university just kept quiet, absolutely no one outside of the La Salle community would have paid any mind to this story and it would have blown over in a day. Instead, by trying to conceal unpleasant news, La Salle has succeeded in doing just the opposite – drawing exponentially more attention to it. This is why censorship is such a sucker’s bet – because it almost invariably fails, and fails embarrassingly. Surely La Salle must recognize that they’ve announced to the entire country that they view their students contemptuously as incapable of exercising independent judgment. That will look great on the cover of the next recruiting brochure. La Salle needs to join the 21st century and join the ranks of excellent private institutions including Notre Dame and Tulane that grant their students First Amendment-like freedoms as a matter of university regulation, recognizing that this creates a superior educational experience and a more respectful learning environment for the adults – and they are adults – attending these institutions.”

LoMonte calls it “censorship fail”, but when censorship merely amplifies the reach of a story we like to call it:

About Blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship

Blogging Censorship is where National Coalition Against Censorship staff weigh in on the censorship issues on their minds.
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2 Responses to Reading Below the Fold, and Between the Lines

  1. Elise Underhill says:

    In a blatant attempt to censor Zander and the X Revolution, Jen Boyles of City Pages deleted postings on her facebook page while promoting her boyfriend giving her boyfriend sweet heart deals at the local magazine and gigs around town in minneapolis. Apparently, the editor has since organized a renegade group of individuals who continue to intimidate and harass through extortion and lies, slandering the X revolution’s reputations.

    The editor Jen Boyles has even gone to great lengths to send her cronies out to intimidate the couple, spread lies, and even hijack X Revolution through a renegade group known as the Twin Cities Revolution, which is a splinter group that has stolen video content from X Revolution.

    For the City Pages flyering controversy with Jen Boyles in minneapolis check out this blog:

    http://www.myspace.com/alexisstraussman/blog

    Facebook censorship of the city pages controversy story link:

    http://www.myspace.com/dirkdiggler99900/blog

    The city pages controversy with flyers in uptown and dinky town minneapolis has led to emails getting hacked, and intimidation of people associated with these harmless artists.

    Jen Boyle’s censorship is reminiscent of the LENNY BRUCE controversy where he was Labeled “America’s #1 Vomic” by columnist Walter Winchell, Lenny Bruce was the hottest American comedian of the early sixties. His free form fantasies and rambling stories assaulted people accustomed to aw-shucks style humor. He regarded restrictions on free speech as ludicrous and observed that: “A knowledge of syphilis is not an instruction to contract it.” He was tried for obscenity in Philadelphia, Beverly Hills, and Chicago during the early sixties, and deported from the United Kingdom in 1964. His Chicago obscenity trial in 1963 was typical for its focus on his mockery of religion. Increasingly embittered and consumed by his legal problems, he died of a drug overdose in 1966. This is also similar to when Pepsi canceled a contract with Madonna under pressure from Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, which objected to the “blasphemous” music video “Like a Virgin.”

  2. Arlo says:

    The above sounds like meth rantings.

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