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.
“Don’t get in the professionals’ way.”
Hancock and then-staff-writer Madeline McGee did not get in the professionals’ way, and, in fact, took the feature photo for the story and participated in questioning the former speaker of the house just as everyone else did.
Imagine, just for a moment, what life would be like if The Tiger no longer existed. Who would you turn to for information when a CATbus catches fire? Who would call out CUSG when it does something shady? What would you use for last minute wrapping paper when there are no newspapers to be found?
Unfortunately, that future isn’t far off.
The Tiger, like many student-run newsrooms across the country, is struggling financially. And no one’s been talking about it — until now.
You may remember our previous pieces, in which we laid everything out on our financial situation and where we asked students to take ownership of their newspaper. As we inch closer to the end of the spring semester, the staff has taken steps to alter our product delivery to prove that we care about our future.
As the financial future of this publication is discussed by experts in the media, communications and journalism department, we hope the changes we’ve begun to implement produce results that will help The Collegian thrive if they are continued beyond the spring semester. We have reported previously that within a few months, we are set to enter a financial red zone.
Student newsrooms across the country are organizing a day of action in support of the efforts by student journalists, and The Western Herald is joining the call.
#SaveStudentNewsrooms is a campaign started by student journalists at the University of Florida’s Independent Florida Alligator, who were called to action after seeing another Florida student newsroom become a part of their school of journalism.
Imagine a United States that is completely controlled by a higher entity — that does not give the average citizen with something to say a space to say it. A United States that regulates thoughts, differing perspectives and information.
This nation is one without journalism and the media.
Journalism is essential to upholding the values of democracy and helping to keep the powerful in check.
Freedom of speech on college campuses is a long-lived debate that university newspapers are up against and #SaveStudentNewsrooms draws attention to the problems that students are facing across the nation.
A summary of the BI press release is as follows:
On April 25, student newsrooms across the nation are participating in a Day of Action to #SaveStudentNewsrooms, in which they will share editorials highlighting the importance of editorial control and discuss issues that student newsrooms face on a daily basis through Facebook, Twitter and savestudentnewsrooms.com.
The Issue: The Daily Campus, the student-run newspaper which covers Southern Methodist University, recently announced it had to re-affiliate with its university due to lack of funding. The closing of Student Media Company Inc., the independent company which will soon cease to publish SMU’s student newspaper, is leading to concerns from student publications at universities across the nation that declining advertising revenue will lead to university censorship of student free speech.
Our Stance: The College Heights Herald, which made the switch from publishing twice a week to once a week this past semester mostly due to the university taking over half of its reserve budget to cover its own deficit, is already experiencing university censorship in the form of a lawsuit, all while remaining independent from WKU. We need to support student media now more than ever as a growing number of student publications are fighting to maintain financial and editorial independence from their respective universities.
On April 4, 2018, the Editorial Board of Southern Methodist University’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus, wrote an opinion piece titled “The kids aren’t all right: Who really killed the student free press of SMU.”
“It’s not often that a newspaper has the self-indulgency to be able to write about itself, but this anomaly isn’t one to celebrate,” the piece said.
Due to financial and leadership problems, The Daily Campus’ Editorial Board announced that the independent student media company of SMU will officially dissolve in May, forcing its student newspaper under the control of the school’s journalism department.
Across the country, newsrooms of all shapes and sizes are struggling to survive. The rise of digital media, and its financial model, or lack thereof, combined with an unprecedented assault on the industry from numerous forces, have left journalism in a precarious position.
And it’s not only professional outlets that are feeling the pinch. At universities and community colleges from Florida to California, student journalists and their advisers are finding their publications under threat.
In response, The Independent Florida Alligator began the #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement to highlight the critical need for media outlets at all levels to not only remain operational, but to do so without sacrificing editorial integrity.