Student Media Company faced financial hardships in recent years due to decreased ad revenues, causing the paper’s board to evaluate their options for the paper’s future. The Daily Campus' editor-in-chief Kylie Madry worried the board did not consider all options or consequences before placing control of the paper within the SMU journalism department.
“Some good things could come out of us working in the same building,” Madry said. “But I am fearful of the influence of the people above our journalism faculty.”
In response to the situation, Huseman and other graduates are leading a movement to raise the $125,000 needed to keep The Daily Campus editorially independent for one year, during which the graduates will work to form a sustainable business model for the paper. Currently, the group and students have raised approximately $50,000 and are actively meeting with the board to seek alternative options for the paper. Any external donations can be directed to their GoFundMe.
The Daily Campus is not alone in its struggle. The #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement was started by the University of Florida's student newspaper, The Alligator, in response to several college newsroom crises across the country. The movement stresses the need for media outlets at all levels to continue operation while maintaining editorial independence.
“The #SaveStudentNewsrooms movement is awesome,” Madry said. “And I want to think, maybe, our newsroom will be among those saved.”
At UNC, The Daily Tar Heel maintains its status as a non-profit independent newspaper affiliated with the University. The paper has been similarly affected by the financial struggles which have affected the journalism industry, but due to strong foresight and current board action, the DTH still has a future at UNC.
“We’ve really tried to control our costs this past year. We’ve changed offices, restructured our staff a bit. Now the board is strategizing to ensure our content is what our audiences are looking for, and we’re also working to evaluate how we approach ad sales,” said Matt Queen, president of the DTH’s board of directors.
To sustain college newspapers in this new era of journalism, changes need to happen within the staff of newsrooms and within general collegiate student bodies.
Erica Perel, the DTH’s general manager, said in an age where students can seek sources of entertainment through constantly increasing means, the student newspaper needs to better seek and receive the support of the campus it serves.
“Student journalists have to figure out how to be essential to students on our campuses,” Perel said. “If we can figure out to stay relevant with our students, we can successfully navigate this transition."
To student journalists, Madry said to not be afraid to innovate.
"Don’t be afraid to challenge the people who are telling you to accept the status quo," she said. "Real change can be created. Just show up and care.”
In regards to how college students can actively support their campus papers’ futures, Queen has a piece of advice for UNC students.
“The first thing you can do is just pick up the paper,” he said.