Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Committee mulls recommendations for JSU news bureau


JACKSONVILLE — The members of Jacksonville State University's Integrity in Communications Committee on Monday discussed recommendations they may make for JSU's news bureau.

The five committee members said they hope to present final recommendations to JSU President William Meehan on Friday.

Those recommendations could include a requirement that the news bureau create a mission statement and a code of ethics, or that the bureau agree to abide by the code of ethics of a professional organization such as the Society of Professional Journalists or the Public Relations Society of America the committee members said Monday.

The committee may recommend that the news bureau establish a process for vetting its work, they said.

The committee also may urge Meehan to address the faculty and to call for a university initiative focusing on academic integrity.

"I think [Meehan] would be the first to say this is a teachable opportunity," said committee member Michael Malone, former executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education.

Meehan formed the committee Aug. 9 to scrutinize the news bureau following reports of suspected plagiarism in columns produced by a former news bureau employee, Al Harris.

Three "Town and Gown" columns were credited to Meehan and appeared in The Jacksonville News and The Piedmont Journal, which are owned by Consolidated Publishing Co., the parent company of The Anniston Star.

JSU Vice President for Institutional Advancement Joe Serviss said at the meeting that everything produced by the news bureau since February had been examined and that there was no further evidence of plagiarism.

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