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Viewpoint: Independent Journalism Holds Power Accountable. And It Starts in Student Newsrooms

Threats to student journalism are threats to the future of journalism itself.

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Editor’s note: This opinion piece comes from the Editorial Board of the Boston University Daily Free Press. College Media Network is publishing this excerpt as part of the  campaign. 

Newsrooms are notoriously underfunded, and student newsrooms are no exception. Exorbitant printing costs and decreasing revenue from print ads make it more and more difficult for independent college newspapers to stay that way — independent. Papers are increasingly forced to choose between re-affiliating with their universities or folding altogether.

The Daily Campus, the student newspaper for Southern Methodist University, recently announced it is re-affiliating with the university after the financial burden of independence has become unmanageable. In response, student editors at The Independent Florida Alligator are spearheading a movement to call attention to the challenges student newsrooms face in producing quality content with limited resources.

The Daily Free Press itself has historically struggled to keep its head above water. In the fall of 2014, with debt amounting to $70,000, the FreeP switched from printing daily to printing weekly. That November, we announced that unless we could raise money to pay back a large portion of our debt, we would be forced to stop printing entirely. Donations amounting over $70,000 from high-profile donors, including Bill O’Reilly, saved our weekly print edition.

Read the rest of the Daily Free Press editorial here. 

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

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