Student newsrooms are more important than ever in a climate that distrusts and attacks journalism.
What becomes increasingly essential is the support of universities across student media, but that hasn’t always been the case. Student-run papers have been sued by their own universities for attempting to access relevant information. They’re ostracized by full-time journalists for attempting to hold their positions to a higher standard. On April 25, a day of advocacy for the “Save Student Newsrooms” campaign, we have the opportunity to share how pivotal and important student newsrooms are on campuses, within communities and across the journalism industry. This campaign, launched by the University of Florida’s student-run paper, The Independent Florida Alligator, provides us a chance to highlight the dire circumstances facing student journalism. Student newsrooms throughout the country don’t have nearly enough of the support and resources they need to operate a campus paper.
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Today, April 25, is Save Student Newsrooms Day of Action 2021. On this day annually, student newspapers around the country band together to help demonstrate just how important student newsrooms truly are.
In reality, the importance of student newsrooms is multi-faceted. For one, they provide important training and learning opportunities for student journalists. The opportunities that students are afforded in university newsrooms are highly unique, challenging and often career-altering. While networking opportunities and internships are quite important as well, students working in independent newsrooms have the chance to make editorial decisions completely of their own accord, and the value of the lessons that accompany making these decisions cannot be understated.
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Here at The Alligator, we pride ourselves on many things, perhaps the most important being our independence.
But the truth is, we could never do this alone. We need help and support from you.
Three years ago, a few Alligator editors started the #SaveStudentNewsrooms campaign to show the challenges student newsrooms face. Every year since, on April 25 we’re joined by newsrooms across the country sharing our financial hardships, censorship cases and notable work. It looks the same at almost every college –– student newsrooms are struggling.
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On March 28, 2021, The Red & Black editors held an in-person staff meeting for the first time in more than a year. The last in-person budget was on March 5, 2020.
While students juggled virtual classes, historic protests and a pandemic, we also transitioned the newsroom online. Virtual video calls and 24/7 Slack messages replaced in-person paper production and staff meetings.
But throughout this year, the newsroom maintained its commitment to the communities we cover and students we help to train — just as The Red & Black has done for the last 127 years. We learned lessons of empathy and patience. While there is still room to grow, we have come a long way maturing as journalists and as 20-year-olds.
This drastic change was not without losses — more than a dozen student positions in our business and promotions team had to be eliminated because of COVID-19 restrictions. Our sales team went from eight to four.
Read the rest of the Red & Black editorial here.
“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.
Read the rest of The Muhlenberg Weekly’s editorial here
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.
Read the rest of The Villanovan’s editorial here
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.
Read the rest of The Daily Free Press’ editorial here
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.
Read the rest of The State Press’ editorial here
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.
Read the rest of The Amsterdammer’s editorial here
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.
Read the rest of The Scarlet and Gray’s editorial here