The importance of saving independent student newsrooms
Recently, America’s journalism and media industry have hit a setback. More than one in five of America’s local newspapers have closed while newsroom unemployment is at 25 percent. While investigative reporting is thriving, there is no sugarcoating the reality – America’s journalism industry is more frayed than at any time in modern history.
College and universities alone cannot solve this problem, writes Inside Higher Ed. Students have to be made to learn in their formative years to seek and apply quality factual information. As of now, institutions either view journalism with indifference or hostility. Student journalists are not given access to information or are threatened with retaliation for reporting facts on their own schools.
A former student editor from Virginia was forced to apologize for truthfully reporting on-campus crime. He was made to submit his stories to be “sanitized” by the administration.
A lack of effort by institutions is often based on the rationalization that “campus audiences have lost interest in the news.” However, today’s generation is as informed as any can be.
Once, colleges had seemed immune from economic forces, but now, they were in the middle of it.
Despite the challenges facing independent student newsrooms, some institutions have taken initiatives to revive journalism. The University of Florida plans to invest $200,000 over the next two-years for student-run Independent Florida Alligator, the nation’s largest and oldest student newspaper.
The university hopes that other colleges will follow suit. As is said, “College newsrooms are the laboratories in which tomorrow’s information solutions are being developed. It is time to help them innovate, not to starve them out.”