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BUnow's April Fools' Spoof: CMA 2012

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Reports on BUnow April's Fool Day story in 2011.

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BUnow's April Fools' Spoof: CMA 2012

  1. 1. CMA: NATIONAL CONFERENCE NEW YORK, NY MARCH 2012 DR. RICHARD GANAHLBLOOMSBURG UNIVERSITY, PA
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS • APRIL FOOLS’: THE PRANK • ADMIN: PULL THE PLUG! • BUnow: GET SITE BACK UP! • COMMUNITY: RU KIDDING?!? • FUTURE: WHAT’S AHEAD?APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 2
  3. 3. APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 3
  4. 4. LONE” AND-A P LAY/ST “PURE BU NOW: MISSION BU NOW: TRAFFIC* Student Organization * 187,808 visitors* Indie Blog & Website * 125+ visiting countries* Co-op & Con-verge * 434,243 page views* Student Moderated * 127,738 unique visitors* Multiple Platforms •  over 18,567 video views* Pics, Audio, Video •  35-55 student staff APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 4
  5. 5. s t udent own. S urg. u tting d oomsb en sh d to B lLock Hav e nsfer r to be tra •  ‘story’ breaks first thing in morning •  ‘story’ featured as BN headline story •  advisors discuss exit plan w/ editors •  traffic builds quickly throughout day •  ‘story’ goes viral as FB LIKES spiral •  advisor meets tech-vp in rec center APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 5
  6. 6. BUnow is ‘shut down’ at @ 3.55 pm Friday •  BN student-editor tracks shut-down •  BN advisors initiate talks w/ vp-tech •  spoofed-school considers ‘action’ •  vp-tech initiates talks with pres •  BN advisors told will take weekend •  BN advisors contact Frank @ SPLC! APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 6
  7. 7. t SPLC 1 ‘ nsive Firs ” ave exte l mediums alists h cross al STuDENT PRESS LAw CENTER rn ent jou ection…a April 1, 2011 “stud David Stanwick, Editor-in-Chief, B U Now nt prot Bloomsburg University Bloomsburg, PA 17815 e mendm VIA FACSIMILEA Dear David, Thank you for letting us know about today’s shutdown of the BUNow news website. As we understand the situation, your online news site carried a conspicuously identified April Fool’s story that poked fun at a neighboring institution, Lockhaven University. Lockhaven responded by demanding that the BUNow website be completely deactivated, and your administration complied, resulting in a complete denial of access to the site for readers and staff. Shutting down a student-run news website at a public university is a very severe measure, and it can be justified if ever — only by the most extreme necessity. The facts — that you have provided furnish no lawful basis for the university’s action, and accordingly, it appears that a serious violation of the students’ First Amendment rights •  ‘shutting down a website is a very severe measure’ has occurred and is ongoing. At a public university, student journalists have extensive First Amendment •  ‘the university’s response…denied readers access’ protection that applies across all mediums, including the online medium. While spoofing Lockhaven may have been annoying to its administrators, there appears to be nothing even arguably illegal about the story, based on your description of it. As the Supreme Court has affirmed, a public institution may not use its funding authority to •  ‘Besides being illegal, this…damag(es) reputations’ penalize a student organization such as RU Now based on the content of its lawful expression. Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819 (1995). As the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in a censorship case involving a college ‘has potential to ‘go viral’…make the subject of ridicule’ publication, “Censorship of constitutionally-protected expression cannot be imposed at •  a college or university by suspending editors, suppressing circulation, requiring imprimatur of controversial articles, excising repugnant material, withdrawing financial support, or asserting any other form of censorial oversight based on the institution’s •  ‘the SPLC has a relationship with pro-bono…counsel’ power of the purse.” 477 F,d 456, 460 ( Cir. 1973) (emphasis th 4 added). Even in the ver unlikely event that the single Lockhaven story could have been •  ‘We will also be pleased to publicize this episode’ deemed to be constitutionally unprotected speech, the university had less First Amendment-intrusive efforts to achieve the same objective, such as asking that the editors pull down the single offending story. The appropriate course of action when a complaint is received about content in the student media is to refer the complaint to the student editors. I am certain that, had the proper procedures been followed, you and 1101 Wilson Blvd.. Suite 1100 I Arlington, VA 222022 11 I 7 03SU7 I ‘04 sn1cBsnLore I WW DicOre APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 7
  8. 8. ril o t as an Ap jo ke t f s mean here were at ant rity o‘It wa joke…t a a bl e seve uts Fo ols’ igns it was ‘i s t wa ght th dget c ct plent y of s k.’ li u fe pran high 50% b d to af the edule tion’ sch educa APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 8
  9. 9. a y Frid 5 8 pm @ 6. g ain’ ve a w is ‘liBUno •  vp-tech ‘turns BUnow on’ •  BUnow editors add disclaimers •  disclaimers not a ‘quid pro quo’ •  advisors & provost design protocol •  BUnow launches as .com in Fall APRIL FOOLS: BEFRIEND THE 1ST AMENDMENT! 9

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