Loyola Student Newspaper Calls Out School's Media Policy for Being 'Straight Out of the Trump Playbook'

donald trump loyola university chicago student newspaper media policy
President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the student newspaper of Loyola University Chicago criticized the school's media policy for being out of the "Trump playbook." MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Loyola University Chicago student newspaper used the platform to criticize the school's media policy, likening it to how President Donald Trump handles the media.

The Loyola Phoenix's editorial board co-authored the article, which was published on Wednesday. It was titled, "Loyola's Media Policy is Straight Out of the Trump Playbook," and highlighted a number of ways the staff considered the school's policy to be similar to how Trump interacts with the media.

"For as many times as [President Jo Ann] Rooney has issued statements decrying the actions of President Donald Trump and his administration, dealing with Rooney's administration is no better than a White House press briefing led by Sarah Huckabee Sanders," the editorial board wrote.

The students pointed to a webinar the school gave to faculty to advise them as to how to deal with media requests. Among the critiques of the webinar that the newspaper staff had were that reporters will purposefully alter audio and quotes to twist a person's words and that "off the record" is virtually nonexistent.

"Luckily, [university marketing and communications (UMC)] only falls short of calling the press 'fake news,' the same dog whistle the Trump Administration uses to try to delegitimize less-than-flattering stories," the staff wrote.

The article was penned in response to an email a student reporter received from Loyola's communications spokesperson Evangeline Politis. In the email, as published by the Loyola Phoenix, Politis criticized the unnamed student reporter for reaching out to professors, labeling the behavior "disrespectful and unacceptable."

donald trump loyola university chicago student newspaper media policy
President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the student newspaper of Loyola University Chicago criticized the school's media policy for being out of the "Trump playbook." MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Politis asserted herself as the first point of contact for the paper's requests and explained she can both get in touch with faculty to answer questions and work with another employee for questions about numbers.

Loyola's media policy states that faculty members should refer media inquiries to the UMC for a response, which the Loyola Phoenix, acknowledged, but said it only recently extended that policy to the student newspaper. The paper claimed members of the editorial board used to be able to reach out to faculty members and usually could conduct telephone and in-person interviews.

The reporters criticized the policy of having one point of contact because they claimed the response often included a "robotic statement perfectly crafted by Loyola's marketing team." It added that the UMC can't give the expert statements the paper needs for articles and are "only experts at protecting" the university brand.

"In an era when the press in the United States is under unprecedented attack, how could Loyola not realize the context they're operating in?" the paper wrote.

The university's media policy, as posted on the school's website on Thursday, specifically stated that the Loyola Phoenix was included in the guidelines for requesting comment. In response to the article, the school said the policy was established to help facilitate press inquiries.

"We agree with the student newspaper that we have a responsibility to tell the stories of the University and keep students, staff, and faculty informed, and the policy helps us do so efficiently and effectively," the school said.

Loyola Student Newspaper Calls Out School's Media Policy for Being 'Straight Out of the Trump Playbook' | U.S.