Several times a year, either to students at journalism conferences or in a classroom at The King's College in New York City, I deliver a lecture that I call "Up Against the Wall: Getting along with administrators at private colleges."
The big idea of this talk is that private schools are difficult, but not impossible, places in which to do traditional journalism -- because in a private school the administration is both the publisher of the newspaper and the "local government" that student journalists need to cover.
The goal, I stress, is to do as much journalism as possible, with an emphasis on hard-news reporting. Thus, one of my guidelines -- while serving as newspaper advisor at two Christian private schools -- was to address campus controversies with real reporting, as opposed to taking the easy way out and writing splashy opinion columns.
This brings us, of course, to news reports about Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., yanking an opinion column critical of Donald Trump out of the Liberty Champion. Here is the top of The Politico report on this development:
The president of Liberty University censored an article critical of Donald Trump, according to the sports editor of the school's official newspaper, the Liberty Champion.
The editor, Joel Schmieg, posted a statement on his Facebook account claiming it was Jerry Falwell Jr., the university's president and a Trump supporter, who spiked the column, which criticized Trump for lewd comments he made on a hot mic during a 2005 taping of "Access Hollywood."
"Yesterday I was told [Falwell] was not allowing me to express my personal opinion in an article I wrote for my weekly column in the Liberty Champion about Trump and his 'locker room talk,' " Schmieg wrote.
"I understand Joel's frustration regarding the situation," Cierra Carter, the opinion editor for the Liberty Champion, told POLITICO. "Our president has been very vocal with his opinions during this election season and we'd like that same privilege."