DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Southern Methodist University students can still “read all about it” in their school newspaper, The Daily Campus – but maybe not for long. The weekly paper is set to be out of print next month – a decision independent owner, Student Media Company, Inc. made due to a lack of money.
The paper would continue online only and would be run by the University’s Journalism Department. That loss of a free press is what concerns Daily Campus staff the most.
“When an independent press on this campus doesn’t exist anymore, it’s going to be really hard to have a newsroom that is under the university’s control digging up those stories on them,” says the Daily Campus Editor-in-Chief, Kylie Madry.
It also infuriated alumni, who learned of the decision months after the board of Student Media Company made it. So they launched a group, Friends of Student Media, and started raising money.
“It was a gut instinct that I knew I needed to get involved, and I needed to save it,” says Jennifer Bassman, a member of Friends of Student Media and a graduate of SMU.
Their target: $125,000 – enough, they say, for the board to consider keeping the paper afloat. Through donations and pledges, they believe they’re nearly halfway there.
“Right now, it’s a battle of a small army, and we need to get as many people as we can,” says Online Editor Jacquelyn Elias.
They have supporters around the country, who started a movement called “Save Students Newsrooms” in response. More than 70 colleges and universities are on board. Bassman understands why – because, she says, this is about more than a printed paper.
“The students will no longer truly have a voice on campus, and that’s very scary,” she says.
David Sedman, chairman of the board go Student Media Company, says the fundraising efforts by Friends of Student Media are probably the best chance the newspaper has of staying afloat. He says the board is keeping all doors open.
On Tuesday, the board and alumni will meet to discuss the future of the newspaper.