WRAS “Partnership” Threatens Integrity of the Station, Creates Dangerous Precedent for GSU Student Media

(ATLANTA) Staff members of WRAS were shocked yesterday morning to find out that the student-run station is scheduled to shift in June to an all-new daytime news format managed by Georgia Public Broadcasting that will supplant original student programming.

Crafted without the knowledge or consent of station management, not to mention student media overall, this arrangement between Georgia State University and GPB officials threatens the fundamental identity of WRAS that students have worked for decades to cultivate.

Prior to the announcement, no student member of WRAS was consulted or even alerted, nor was the Committee for Student Communications, which is made up of various undergraduate and graduate student representatives, including the leaders of each student media outlet.

This sends a clear sign that the University administration does not value the input of the student leaders that produce its programming and that the school prioritizes its own self promotion over the education of its students.

As alumni of Georgia State and of Georgia State’s various student media programs – including WRAS, The Signal and GSTV – we vehemently disagree with this decision and question the manner in which it was made. Furthermore, we strongly recommend that Georgia State renegotiate its contract to place control of the 100,000-watt station back firmly in the hands of the students that have comfortably managed WRAS for more than 40 years.

While we agree Georgia State should endeavor to create partnerships with local media, we cannot support this arrangement on the principle that it was created without the consent of WRAS staff members and behind the backs of student media leaders. No partnership can exist except between equals and the current arrangement inappropriately prioritizes university interests over student-run programming, endangering the very learning environment upon which student media depends and thrives.

By intervening in the daily operations of WRAS, Georgia State’s administration is setting a dangerous precedent. If other student media organizations that rely upon university funding feel threatened by the school’s decision here, then it could very well have a chilling effect on the type of content that other organizations like GSTV or The Signal decide to run, effectively removing their editorial control.

However, for student media to mean anything, it has to be managed and operated by students – students that have the freedom to create and innovate with limited intervention.

If Georgia State is interested in a true partnership between the students and Georgia Public Broadcasting, one that includes a meaningful dialogue between all parties involved, it must scrap this dishonestly created arrangement and renegotiate in good faith.

Anything else dishonors the legacy of WRAS and neuters student leadership so as to become next to meaningless.

Contact – Ana Zimitravich (678-294-4534), Chris Shattuck (404-502-6755)

Signed,

Ana Zimitravich,
WRAS General Manager
2012-2014

Tyler McGoff
WRAS General Manager
2010-2011

William Davis
GSTV Programming Director
2009-2011

Andrew Mixon
GSTV General Manager
2013-2014

Deranta’ Avaloy
GSTV General Manager
2011-2013

Chris Shattuck
The Signal Editor-in-Chief
2013-2014

Sabastian Wee
The Signal Editor-in-Chief
2012-2013

Miranda Sain
The Signal Editor-in-Chief
2011-2012

Sheena Roetman
The Signal Editor-in-Chief
2010-2011

Elijah Sarkesian
The Signal Editor-in-Chief
2008-2010

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