Is there a separation of business and editorial on the college level?
Is there enough money to run any ad?

One of the most controversial ethics areas in college newspapers is the advertising/business department. In professional journalism (excluding web journalism) there is a solid wall between the editorial and business sectors of a news outlet. This separation is the very cornerstone of much of news' ethical standards.

Yet, in college journalism, the two departments have very little in the way of separation and therein lies the problem of college newspaper business ethics. College newspapers survive mainly on advertising, sue to the lack of subscriptions and newsstand sales. Because of this, ads that to some would be terrible and unacceptable, become attractive when attached to a large insertion fee. This is why advertisements declaring the Holocaust to be false make their way into college newspapers. If money is so seemingly important, then what is to stop the business section from selling sponsorships of the paper's sections? It is this lack of separation and dependence upon money that will always raise questions about the ethics of student journalists, an unfortunate situation, in which the reputation of journalism lies in the hands of business people.

There's no easy solution for this problem, mainly because of the limitations of office space and staff on the college level. Some schools hae made enough money, they now rent office space off campus, which solves the problem of physically separating the two departments, but what about settling the ethics problems?

The true usage of an ombudsman, a position lacking on almost all college staffs, could be handy in working with the business staff to help provide the journalism/ethics background missing in non-journalism students. Instead of accepting the lack of knowledge in the field, tapping a higher source can help much more.

Can school advertising dollars affect coverage?

The money situation for school newspapers is a vicious circle in a way. The paper wants to be independent enough to criticize the school, so they take any ads they can get, "criticize" the school, then doesn't want school money, take ads, criticize and so on. The nature of the college newspaper, the independent oice of the students, forces the editorial staff and the business staff into a closer relationship then most journalists would want.