It’s not breaking news that print journalism is slowly being pushed off the radar and outshined by internet media, but now student newsrooms are being threatened and can’t go down without a fight.
The main issue is a lack of funding that’s putting editorial independence in jeopardy, and university students need to express more concern for newsroom funding if they want to maintain their publishing freedom.
More than 100 university newsrooms across the country turned to the internet on April 25 for a call to action addressing this issue.
The social media hashtag #SaveStudentNewsrooms was created as part of a campaign for the unofficial Support Student Journalism Day, asking student publications to showcase their work and newsrooms on sites like Facebook and Twitter, in the hopes of raising public awareness and possibly receiving donations from whoever could contribute.
This problem became more prominent after the Southern Methodist University student newspaper, The Daily Campus, announced that its student media company would dissolve due to a lack of funding and be taken over by the university’s journalism department.
The newspaper has had financial trouble since 2003, when mandatory student fees funding the paper changed to an opt-in choice, which most students didn’t opt into, and along with a lack of advertising revenue, it created a bleak future for the paper.
Newspapers are mostly supported through paid advertising, but as advertising revenue decreases, it has created a tumultuous domino effect for reporting staff, content and newspaper length.
Lack of funding is also keeping newsrooms from having up-to-date equipment essential for learning skills that are current with technology today.
San Diego State University’s newspaper has said that its cameras and computers are old and outdated and it often is unable send students to essential conferences.
Newsrooms under the management and funding of the university make it harder to report and criticize without potential pushback, which is why student newsrooms turned to social media to reach out to their peers and raise awareness of how important it is for people to help.
Students from Youth Radio, a student-led nonprofit newsroom, spoke out on their website, expressing reasons why student journalism matters, mostly stating that the ability to create compelling content gives students direction and a voice in issues they care about.
“As I’ve learned during my time in college, student media present huge opportunities for the growth and development of the next generation of journalists,” said Hayley Harding, an Ohio University campus representative for the Society of Professional Journalists board of directors, in an SPJ news release.
Every university newsroom requires different aid, and GoFundMe accounts have been created for donations, but the easiest way to support student newspapers is simply to read them.
Without them, there wouldn’t be any news coverage about events and situations happening on college campuses that students need to know.
Student newsrooms as independent editorial boards are important for aspiring journalists, and it’s essential to maintain reporting integrity by allowing freedom of speech.