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Editor of USC paper resigns

Zach Fox quit after learning university officials would not allow him to keep running the Daily Trojan despite his staff's support.

December 02, 2006|Rebecca Trounson | Times Staff Writer

The editor of USC's student newspaper has resigned after university administrators made it clear that he would not be allowed to keep the position next semester, despite support from the newspaper's staff.

Zach Fox, who had served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Trojan for the fall semester, had applied to retain the job for the spring term and was reelected by staff. But his application was blocked this week after a dispute with administrators over his efforts to change the job's duties and, he said, over his attempt to obtain details of the newspaper's budget from the university.

Administrators denied the budget request, but USC spokesman James Grant said Friday there was no connection between the request and the decision to reject Fox's application.

In that form, Fox said he had hoped to delegate some of the day-to-day responsibilities of the job and focus instead on big-picture reforms, including improving the paper's website and its staff training. "After being editor for a semester, I just realized a whole lot of things could be done better," said Fox, a 21-year-old print journalism major who will graduate in May.

But Michael L. Jackson, USC vice president for student affairs, declined to accept Fox's application or pass it along to a USC board that oversees the campus' student media outlets and has final say over the editor's job.

Jackson said in a statement that Fox's application was denied because he wanted to make "drastic revisions" to the job without discussion or consent of the board. But Jackson also said a university task force would review Fox's proposals for improving the Daily Trojan.

A number of Daily Trojan alumni at various news outlets sent a letter to USC administrators Friday protesting the university's "unconscionable" vetoing of Fox's selection by the paper's staff and urging his reinstatement.

But at a meeting Friday, Fox urged the paper's staff to support an ally of his, junior Jeremy Beecher, as editor for the spring semester. Beecher won the vote and later said he shared Fox's goals for reforming the paper.

USC's media board will review Beecher's election next week.

rebecca.trounson@latimes.com

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