From the Editors’ Desk: Let’s #SaveStudentNewsrooms together


graphic by Tyler Herron

Hundreds of student media outlets across America are standing together in support of our shared mission, and the Trinitonian is proud to add its voice to the chorus.

#SaveStudentNewsrooms is a call to action kicked off by student editors at the University of Florida’s daily student newspaper, the Independent Florida Alligator, to draw attention to the unique value that student journalism provides and the precarious situation too many college journalists find themselves in.

The student newspaper at Southern Methodist University, the Daily Campus, announced this month that after nearly 90 years of operation, its student-led publishing company would dissolve, the paper would cease printing and the journalism department would take over the Daily Campus’ operations.

Frankly, that’s terrifying. Student journalists work hard to bring you information that nobody else wants to. Take the Trinitonian, for example.

We file open-records requests, meet with TUPD officers weekly and recap Student Government Association meetings to keep you in the loop. Our reporters find the campus’ most interesting figures, interview the administration and ask hard questions to get the truth on the record and online.

All this, from 40-something full-time students, many of whom work elsewhere as well. All this and more: this year we’ve rolled out a new website, renewed our social media presence and begun producing video content for you to enjoy.

Student journalists elsewhere are no different. We all find and share the truth about our campus communities, information you can’t get anywhere else.

But it costs a lot of money to pay a staff, run a website and print a newspaper. At the same time, advertising — the Trinitonian’s primary source of revenue, pulling tens of thousands of dollars each year — is tough work, and not everyone has been able to adapt to slowing ad sales.

Just ask the Daily Campus, or the Sunflower at Wichita State University. Their student government slashed its funding by half this February.

It’s truly an honor to serve this campus, and the Trinitonian is lucky in a lot of ways.

We’re lucky that Trinity University gives us an office space and utilities, free of charge, and never attempts to exercise editorial control over our content. We’re lucky that the student activity fee funds about 35 percent of our annual operating budget each year.

We’re lucky to have such an attentive readership, too. Each week, 60–80 percent of the 2,200 newspapers we print are either sent in the mail to our subscribers or picked up from the racks on campus. (We donate the rest to the Animal Defense League.) And each week, between 1,000 and nearly 10,000 unique viewers visit our website.

We are grateful that Trinity University — not just the administration, but the students, alumni, parents, faculty and staff that we serve — shares our commitment to free inquiry and public debate.

How can you help #SaveStudentNewsrooms? If you’re a student, you’ve done your part; a small portion of your semesterly student activity fee keeps us in business. But you can still sign up for our newsletter, join our reader advisory board and ask us questions you’d like to see answered.

Those admiring from afar can also visit our Support Us page and donate or subscribe.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading us this year as much as we’ve enjoyed working for you. Good luck with finals and enjoy the summer.

#SaveStudentNewsrooms. photo by Jordan Bruce, webmaster and social media coordinator