Newly hired Famuan editor wants to repair relationship between paper and students

The newly hired editor of The Famuan at Florida A&M University said Thursday afternoon that she hopes to improve the relationship between students and the newspaper during her term, which will kick off officially next week when the paper begins printing after a two-week suspension by the school’s journalism dean.

The school hasn’t made a formal announcement yet, but senior Angie Meus confirmed the news and said she was in the process of hiring the rest of her staff.

Meus applied for the position after Dean Ann Kimbrough reopened the application process, forcing current editors to reapply for their positions and inviting others to apply as well. Meus has applied for the position previously; she was named a co-editor for the fall 2012 semester, but had to step down due to her academic commitments, she said. Meus applied to be editor this semester, but Karl Etters, who served as editor last fall, was chosen instead.

“I’ve always wanted to be editor-in-chief of The Famuan,” Meus said. “I’ve just always wanted to see my vision pretty much come to life. There were things that I saw that could be different, that could be better with the paper.”

Meus said her main goal this semester was reapairing the relationship between students and the paper. She said there was been tension between the two groups in the past.

“I don’t want people to think that The Famuan is against them,” Meus said. “I want them to know that The Famuan is for everyone to read.”

Meus said that she was initially concerned by administrators’ decision to suspend publishing and force editors to reapply, but that the dean has been “open and willing” and has answered any questions she had.

“I was concerned and I think other students were as well,” she said. “But I trusted that our School of Journalism and Graphic Communication had it under control.”

Meus said she’s talked with Kanya Stewart, the paper’s newly appointed adviser, and that the two are “pretty much on the same page when it comes to a lot of things.” Meus said she met Stewart last semester at a multimedia bootcamp held for students last semester.

Etters, who reapplied for his position but learned late Tuesday night that he had not been rehired, said he asked Stewart for feedback on why he was not selected and that she told him he didn’t fit the “vision” of the paper. Etters said Stewart told him she didn’t like an answer he gave during his interview about pursuing truthful stories even if they negatively portray someone.

Meus said she and Stewart haven’t talked specifically about negative stories, but that personally, she believes the purpose of journalism is to report the news, whether negative or positive.

“I would seek the truth and report it, that’s the bottom line,” she said. “All news is not good and all news is not bad. I’m just going to uphold that standard.”

Stewart initially agreed to an email interview Wednesday night, but responded Thursday to decline comment and refer questions to FAMU’s office of communications.

Meus has been conducting interviews among applicants for the remaining editorial positions and said she plans to have her full staff hired by Friday.