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SPJ Board reaffirms support for student newsrooms



Rebecca Baker, SPJ National President, 203-640-3904,
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Communications Strategist, 317-361-4134,

INDIANAPOLIS – In advance of Save Student Newsrooms Day on April 25, the Society of Professional Journalists Board of Directors acknowledges the difficulties student newsrooms face across the country and reaffirms its commitment to supporting them.

The board voted to show its support to student journalists Sunday at its meeting in Indianapolis.

Recently, the student-run newspaper The Daily Campus, which covers Southern Methodist University, announced it must re-affiliate with its university. It is one of many student-run newspapers facing lack of funding and other hardships.

The Independent Collegian, staffed by University of Toledo students, published a front-page editorial this month headlined “Our newspaper is dying.” The newspaper is facing serious financial problems due to steadily decreasing advertising revenue.

These are two of many student media outlets facing dire budget issues.

“We need discussion about this problem to spread off campus to alumni and other groups that can pressure universities to support their student media,” SPJ National President Rebecca Baker said. “Student newsrooms are laboratories for journalism and communication majors. It’s where they learn accurate and fair writing, reporting and editing skills and then put what they learn into practice. It’s up to this country’s institutions of higher education to prepare tomorrow’s journalists, and that can’t be done without committing funds and resources to help them thrive.”

Hayley Harding, an Ohio University student who serves as a campus representative on the SPJ Board of Directors, asked the board to formally acknowledge the issue and help bring general awareness to the problem.

"I felt like the board formally recognizing this was an important step to solidify that SPJ supports students," Harding said. "As I've learned during my time in college, student media present huge opportunities for the growth and development of the next generation of journalists. SPJ supports all journalists, regardless of age."

Baker asked the five board members who represent campuses to form a committee to explore ways SPJ can better institutionalize this commitment and develop ideas for a strategy or initiative to help student journalists across the country.

In light of the funding crisis many student newsrooms are facing, student editors at The Independent Florida Alligator at the University of Florida, are spearheading Support Student Journalism Day on Wednesday. Student-run news organizations will publish editorials highlighting the need for student media and the importance of supporting it.

There will be a social media campaign to #SaveStudentNewsrooms as part of the day. Student journalists will share their best work, provide student and alumni testimonials and encourage donations to student media.

“So many student newsrooms are in danger of losing their funding because of universities cutting budgets, decreased ad revenue, etc. If they are not lost completely, they are facing severe budget crunches. We need to not only realize that student newsrooms benefit students, but they benefit the universities and communities they serve as well,” Harding said.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund, or give to the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.


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