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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: We're not in the boxes, but we aren't taking a snow day

Editor-in-chief Paige Ladisic explains why there will be no print edition of The Daily Tar Heel on Jan. 22.

Clarification: I feel that an important fact was lost yesterday in our frustration and anger over the situation. Our general manager never told us not to produce news and report stories. When we met to talk over the decision to cancel, we were encouraged to produce an online edition or put stories on our website, which we did.

We were never told to take a day off. Only the print edition was taking a day off.

We want to protest the way the decision was made — not the decision itself. 


There is no Daily Tar Heel in the boxes today.

And we are not OK with it.

A decision was made last year at a meeting of The Daily Tar Heel's professional staff to no longer print when inclement weather would inhibit students, faculty and staff from making it to campus. Printing a paper that no one picks up means we aren't making money, and, from a business standpoint, it's hard to understand printing a paper that doesn't make any money.

No current student journalists at the DTH were consulted about this, and none of us were told until Wednesday morning.

We understand that print is changing, and we would never want to endanger the people who deliver our papers. That isn't what we wanted from this. But what we do want is to include students in the conversation on what will change about The Daily Tar Heel. 

We went to our general manager and pleaded to print just enough papers for on-campus boxes. 

No.

We said we would pick them up before the storm came through and hand them out on campus.

No.

We asked if we could raise the money to pay for the paper ourselves.

No.

The decision had already been made. Without the students.

At this student newspaper, this magnificent 122-year-old organization founded on the purest of missions, the opinion of the students should always be valued. Maybe we can't make all the decisions, and we most certainly can't get our way every day. But we would be less angry if our voices had been heard from the beginning, not the day before the call would be made.

But students, I can't let you off the hook.

If you picked up the paper every day, we wouldn't be here right now. We'd print on a snow day because we'd know that even though our pickup might be down, there would be people who made it out in the snow and sleet to get their DTH. 

College media is a powerful thing, especially at this University, and when you don't support us by picking up the paper or checking our website for news, you are saying that you don't believe in one of the most amazing things about UNC. Our freedom to challenge our University, cover our community and fight for what's right. We know that it's worth it, but we need the support of our student body, too.

And to the community, we are sorry that we won't be there in the boxes tomorrow. We're sorry there won't be a crossword puzzle, a funny bottom quote or news about the weather. We recognize the value of community journalism here at The Daily Tar Heel, and we value the support and readership of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. (All of us do. We wouldn't exist if we didn't.) 

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We believe that in rain, sleet, snow or rain, newspapers should still do their duty to their community. We are sorry that we won't be there in the boxes tomorrow.

But we'll be here at dailytarheel.com. You can count on that.