Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mangum has set tone for her supporters’ lowbrow antics toward reporters

Rattler Nation hasn’t shied away from speaking out against warped news articles and editorials about FAMU since this site started.

Back in 2012, this blog received a big amount of traffic from viewers who came to read the RN criticism of the Orlando Sentinel editorial board. Then-Sentinel opinions editor Mike Lafferty answered with a column that criticized us back.

Click on the “media” tag on this blog and you’ll see RN editorials that also blast things that were published by the Tallahassee Democrat, Associated Press, and St. Pete Times.

The RN blogging team continues to urge alumni who have a problem with what any media organization has said about their alma mater to make a public response in a way that represents a FAMU education. But the alumni who proposed an organized effort of name-calling and cursing at Tallahassee Democrat reporter Byron Dobson didn’t do that. That was an attempt to get support for online bullying.

The alumni who called for that smear campaign on Facebook were mad about articles that Dobson wrote about the administration of President Elmira Mangum. Mangum didn’t endorse the actions of those alumni. But she has set the tone for her supporters’ lowbrow antics toward reporters.

A member of the FAMU School of Journalism and Graphic Communication faculty took Mangum to task for “bullying” the campus student newspaper last year.

FAMUan Editor-in-Chief Reggie Mizell wrote a column on September 3, 2015 that said Mangum excluded student editors from the planning process for a new “official newspaper” at the university. He stated the president told him and other student journalists that: “It won't be the FAMUAN. It’ll be a real newspaper, like the Wall Street Journal.”

Mangum responded with an “Open Letter to the Editor of The Famuan” that prompted Valerie D. White, an associate professor of journalism, to answer with a stinging op-ed in the student newspaper. She said Mangum was “bullying” the student journalists.

“The letter was sent to The Famuan with a directive to publish it. That is not how this works. It is bullying, the same action Mangum accuses the board of trustees of doing,” White wrote.

Mangum has shown that she doesn’t respect FAMU journalism students or professional reporters. Many of her supporters have followed her lead and are taking this to an even lower level with their ugly online comments toward journalists who write things that they don’t like.

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