Working at The Eagle at American University in Washington, D.C.–back before many of y’all were zygotes–changed my life, and all to the good. I walked in the newsroom the second day I was on campus and, other than showering and drinking elsewhere, basically didn’t leave for four years. I became a reporter there. I became an editor there. I became Editor in Chief there. And throughout those four years, I learned so much–about reporting, certainly, but much more importantly, about working hard, and well. I learned how to manage different people with different sensibilities. I learned about sacrifice and how small gestures can go a long way. And I made friendships that have lasted a lifetime. I can’t stress strongly enough how important an independent student media is to try and hold administrators accountable, to shed light on communities that are underrepresented and whose voices are unheard, and to advocate on behalf of students in an era where resources are scarce and the cost of higher education increases, seemingly exponentially, every year. #SaveStudentNewsrooms
“Vol. 1, No. 1! … Our Alma Mater has never had a regular periodical, but that is no reason why she should not have one,” wrote an enterprising group of young men at a small college on the east end of Allentown. “We enter upon with the firm conviction that a publication of this description will supply a long-felt want, and that it can be of perpetual benefit to our college.”
Of course, the ‘alma mater’ in question in the above 1883 article is Muhlenberg and the publication none other than The Muhlenberg Weekly (at that point in time it was officially known as the “Muhlenberg Monthly”). There have certainly been many changes since 1883 — including a relocation to the present-day home in Allentown’s west end, 11 presidents, and the introduction of co-education — but one constant remains: The Muhlenberg Weekly.
I had clocked in to the office at around five that evening, and then proceeded to spend roughly seven hours trying to figure out how to lay out my section and determine next week’s round of articles with my co-editor. I also had to learn the names of twelve new faces who, for the most part, were all older than me and all seemed to know what they were doing. There were style guidelines and grammar guidelines and editing processes that I just could not get the hang of. Piled on top of this was the certainty running through my mind that someone was going to figure out that I didn’t belong there, that I was not the right person for the job.
The Daily Campus, the student newspaper for Southern Methodist University, recently announced it is re-affiliating with the university after the financial burden of independence has become unmanageable. In response, student editors at The Independent Florida Alligator are spearheading a movement to call attention to the challenges student newsrooms face in producing quality content with limited resources.
The Daily Free Press itself has historically struggled to keep its head above water. In the fall of 2014, with debt amounting to $70,000, the FreeP switched from printing daily to printing weekly. That November, we announced that unless we could raise money to pay back a large portion of our debt, we would be forced to stop printing entirely. Donations amounting over $70,000 from high-profile donors, including Bill O’Reilly, saved our weekly print edition.
The State Press has been covering ASU in some capacity for almost 130 years, since before Tempe Normal School was a university or Arizona was a state.
We’ve operated as an insert in The East Valley Tribune, a publication of the ASU journalism school and, since the ’70s, as an editorially independent, student-run newsroom beneath the umbrella of ASU Student Media.
We work to serve, challenge and provoke the University community we serve. And with more than 100,000 enrolled, it’s a big community to cover.
Today, April 25, alongside 120 student newsrooms, The Amsterdammer will proudly join the international student movement #SaveStudentNewsroom on the –unofficial– Support Student Journalism Day. This movement is an initiative created by the editorial board of the Independent Florida Alligator, a student newspaper that serves the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
The Amsterdammer is a recently-created student newspaper, an ode to our belief that student-run news organisations are crucial tools for journalism education. Earlier this week, our founder Isabel Bonnet explained why student journalism is a necessity. To explain why such a new paper is already affected by lack of funding, it is first important to understand our standpoint.
Over the past few years, the Free Press has regularly struggled to make ends meet. It’s been easy to think that it’s just us, that we must be doing something wrong, that it’s just because students won’t rally around saving their student paper at a commuter campus.
But it isn’t just the Free Press. Far from it.
Today, we’re having a conversation about journalism — a craft, a career path, an industry that is currently hemorrhaging before our eyes and at our mercy. Changes in the way media is disseminated, digested and financed are affecting newsrooms across the country, and despite a lack of attention thus far, college newsrooms are not exempt from these widespread threats.