As news nationwide is transitioning to digital platforms, student newsrooms are taking a hit.
To fight the struggles student newsrooms nationwide are facing, student newsrooms are planning a day of action on Wednesday, April 25. In a movement spearheaded by editors at the University of Florida’s The Alligator, student newsrooms are sharing editorials and videos of their newsrooms to display their dedication to student journalism.
“On April 25, we’re calling on student-run news organizations to publish editorials highlighting the need for student media and the importance of supporting it,” student activists wrote on the Saving Student Newsrooms website. “As part of this, we’re starting a social media campaign to #SaveStudentNewsrooms as part of (the unofficial) Support Student Journalism Day. Ahead of April 25, we’ll be challenging student-run publications to show off their newsrooms in videos on Twitter. We hope you flood Facebook and Twitter with editorials, threads of your best work of this year, current student and alumni testimonials and links to your donate button.”
The Save Student Newsrooms movement and the unofficial Support Student Journalism Day were created as a response to the increasing financial instability of student-run publications. Across the nation, student news publications are being put out of business due to lack of funding and support from their universities.
Student newsrooms across the nation are finding difficulties in securing stable funding as many are not funded by their universities. To combat this, many newsrooms are asking for donations but are finding the process difficult due to the limited funds students are already faced with.
“The truth is, all student organizations need help from outside orgs to find stable funding,” Melissa Gomez from The Alligator wrote in a Facebook post in the Save Student Newsrooms group. “Donations, I think, will be a start. Ideally, it will catch the attention of bigger non-profits, like the Knight Foundation, to consider grants to give to student publications.”
Another major obstacle student newsrooms are met with is the lack of support from their university’s faculty. As many publications are not funded by their universities and are releasing articles on inside issues the university is facing, faculty support is not widespread.
“One major thing we have to deal with is the faculty,” Kienan O’Doherty, editor-in-chief of The Transcript at Ohio Wesleyan University, said. “Not exactly sure what the faculty is like at other colleges/universities, but they really don’t like us. It’s gone so far that they even kicked us reporters out of their faculty meetings.”
Student journalists feel that the shutdowns of student newsrooms are an injustice to journalism students as it closes off an opportunity for growth and hands-on learning. According to Mariana Alfaro of the New York Times, her college newspaper, The Daily Northwestern of Northwestern University, made her the reporter she is today.
“The Daily Northwestern has made me who I am as a journalist,” Alfaro said. “I took my first serious steps as a reporter there, met some of my best friends in the world, made errors, learned how to fix them, and had the opportunity to write stories that opened doors in my career.”
To learn more information on the day of action on April 25 and the Save Student Newsrooms movement, go to savestudentnewsrooms.com.
Olivia Ali can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.