Statement by Student Reporter Involved in Altercation with Publisher

Editor’s Note:  Following is a statement that GradyNewsource reporter Joshua Buce made, regarding his altercation with the publisher of the Red and Black, Harry Montivideo.  The editorial faculty reviewed and discussed the remarks with the student beforehand, but they did not direct him on what to say.

Over the weekend, I have been contacted from numerous media outlets asking whether or not I intend to press charges.  After consulting with my family, I have made the decision that I will not be pressing charges against Mr. Montevideo.  I take all that has happened as an absolutely invaluable learning experience.  My family and friends could not be any prouder of my actions.  This situation has solidified my belief that good journalism comes at a great cost.  However, I do hope Mr. Montevideo understands that becoming physical with a student or any other person is never acceptable.  It most certainly is not professional.

I have to admit the entire experience seems surreal and left me feeling shocked.  I have read through Montevideo’s apology and must admit that I am disappointed.  I found his apology to be somewhat backhanded.  His statements do not describe the incident accurately.  In the video released by Grady Newsource, I can be heard saying, “excuse me” while being escorted out of the newsroom by Mr. Montevideo.  On my way to the exit, he told me several times that I needed to leave and demanded that the camera be shut off.  He then reached for my camera while forcibly applying pressure on the back of my neck.  The released Grady Newsource video, witness accounts, and pictures are substantial enough for the public to draw their own conclusions.  In his apology letter, he states, “It was inappropriate and unfair to the students to have the media cover that event.”  From what I understand, these students are journalists.  As well, many of these students have worked for The Red and Black and/or The Red and Dead.  It is my understanding that they are reporters and are considered media as well.

As a student for The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, I have always been treated as a professional and with respect. I have been taught that journalism is a public service to the community.  It requires passion and determination in order to discover stories and accurately portray them to the public.  That is my intention when reporting on the field and in the newsroom.

-Joshua Buce

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  • Random

    When you are asked to leave a PRIVATE building, you need to leave and as a journalist you need to understand that. If not, you’ll find yourself in jail. As far as my understanding goes, Mr. Buce did not do that. Even more so is the fact that ANOTHER GradyNewsource reporter was asked to leave the building earlier. He complied without any physical altercation taking place with Mr. Montevideo. This should be clear indication that Mr. Buce was in the wrong by being in the building. There is a fine line between being determined and trespassing. Learn to toe it.

    • Random?

      I think the point is more how Mr. Montevideo handled the situation, less about whether or not Mr. Buce is in the wrong. There is a fine line between asking someone to leave and assault, you should learn to toe that.

    • Tommy

      Sure, there’s a fine line between being determined and trespassing. And there are risks that journalists take to report the news, and if a reporter is arrested for trespassing it can be viewed as an occupational hazard. The question is not whether Mt. Buce is above the law but whether his video coverage shines a light in a place some clearly don’t want illuminated. “Random”‘s suggestion to “learn to toe” that fine line is probably solid legal advice. It is also a great way to back down from those in power and simply let them have their way.

    • Interesting

      While it is interesting that another GradyNewsource reporter was asked to leave (and did so, without physical altercation) that does not excuse that Mr. Montevideo physically assaulted a student at UGA. As an amateur reporter, Mr. Buce is still learning to probe the world around him with an investigative eye. Mr. Montevideo is a seasoned faculty member of The University of Georgia. As such, he is expected to hold himself with a certain amount of dignity. That dignity should be coupled with a profound respect for students and their educational endeavors. Mr. Montevideo’s somewhat snide apology displays the changing attitude towards students that caused most of the Red and Black faculty to walk out. Faculty must be held culpable for their actions- in the same way that students are (in fact, more so because they are paid to instruct and supervise students). Certainly a more dignified discussion- one that showcased why Mr. Montevideo was chosen to supervise the paper would have been more appropriate. Trespassing does not trump physical assault. Period. Mr. Buce did not deserve to be physically extricated from the building by a UGA faculty member, no matter how frustrated they might be.

    • Truth seeker

      Yeah, you’re right chum, how dare a reporter try to attend what was advertised as an ‘open meeting for EVERYONE?’ When that kid doesn’t hustle fast enough to the exit, grab his neck and shove him down. That seems like the proper prescription.

      And I’m sure this wasn’t just a poor attempt at face-saving by the publisher – how dare anyone try to cover this abomination he’s created?

      The fourth estate should always be tamed in such a way, then we can all stay nice and ignorant.

      You are blind.

  • Lisa Fingeroot

    I understand your shock and am very sorry this happened to you. I was kicked, seriously kicked, by a county commissioner in Georgia one time and I was in shock for hours. I think it is a reasonable expectation that you will not be physically attacked in certain situations and I think you had the right to assume that under circumstances.

    I disagree with your decision, however, not to press charges. When I was kicked, the commissisoner did it right in front of the sheriff — what better witness? I had her arrested the next morning and carried it all the way to court day. I dropped the charges in return for a public apology in the newspaper and not a backhanded one like you got.

    I think people who who use physical force to accomplish anything should be punished. It is not acceptable behavior anywhere and certainly not on campus against a student.

  • Journalist

    As I recall, the meeting at the Red and Black offices was determined, by the administration that held it, as a “Open House.” The term, “Open House,” means to me, and as I believe to most people, a public event. This means, as a public event, we, as journalists, have every right to be in that building and film that PUBLIC event. Mr. Buce is correct in his statement, and had every right to do what he intended to do: to inform the public of the event.

  • Randomette

    Random, you do not have the right to put hands on others even in your own building unless you are being physically threatened, and the whole world knows that’s not what happened. The appropriate action to remove the invited journalists from the property would be to call the police to evict them. The police have the power and rights to place hands on others. Montevideo did not. Get your facts straight.

  • Random is Wrong

    To the best of my knowledge, a public university building is just that: a public building. Anyone can walk in that building at any time during open hours. You’re completely off-base in that regard. There’s nothing private about that building.

    The meeting was also an open meeting and was advertized as such, at least until the publisher noticed that decision didn’t work in his favor. As a “professional,” he should have known you can’t introduce an event as open to the public and retroactively remove that status. Given his actions, lack of integrity and overall ridiculous behavior, I think we can all conclude that the reporter here was 100 percent within his rights. Then, this idiot decided to flex his muscle and committed an assault. I hope you know what that word means, Random, because it seems you have no idea what you’re talking about as a whole.

    There’s a fine line between a criticism with understanding behind it and sounding like a moron, Random. Learn to toe it.

  • Honey Badger

    Both sides are going to end up saying what they want to say, and are going to believe what they want to believe as to what really happened. However, the bottom line of this situation is that a non-student got into a physical altercation with a student. Under no situation, unless the student presents a danger to this individual, is it okay for this to happen. Even if Montevideo were a student, it would still be unacceptable. It is a complete lack of professionalism. Yes, I’m sure the publisher is under a lot of stress. But to resort to physicality is completely unacceptable in ANY situation. If Montevideo was so upset by Mr. Buce being in the building, then he should have called the police. What’s that? He says he DID call them? Well why bother when he was obviously going to take the matter into his own hands and didn’t actually care about handling the situation in a professional manner at all? Mr. Buce should have been escorted out by officers if he were truly causing a disturbance, not being held by his neck and pushed down stairs by an angry and frustrated individual who obviously has no idea how to behave in any kind of stressful situation. No matter how you spin it, Montevideo was the one who got physical when there was no danger to his person aside from possibly mild embarrassment, therefore, he is the one in the wrong, no matter who was where.

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