As newsrooms across the country shut their doors due to lack of funding and even the most esteemed outlets explore new revenue models to stay afloat, college newspapers are essential.
Independent student newspapers have a vital role of holding their university accountable while providing a service to the community surrounding campus. While independent papers inform students, they go beyond classrooms to affect the lives of employees, administrators, professors and parents. They also serve as a space for students to build the foundation for a successful career. For these reasons, The Hatchet’s editorial board is proud to stand with more than 100 student-run newspapers across the country Wednesday as we work to #SaveStudentNewsrooms.
The movement started at the University of Florida’s newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator. #SaveStudentNewsrooms brings attention to the importance of independent student journalism and was sparked by news of institutions across the country struggling to maintain independence.
Southern Methodist University’s The Daily Campus recently announced they will restore ties with their university due to financial concerns. Upon returning for the academic year, The Amherst Student at Amherst College rejoined their college despite running independently since 1868. These are just two examples of a growing trend on campuses across the country.
The Hatchet has won awards and broken influential stories over the past 115 years of publication and since it gained independence in 1993. But even as the second-oldest newspaper in the District, The Hatchet has struggled.
After a fundraising push in June and numerous donations over the summer, The Hatchet still could not secure enough funding to maintain our workspace. We sold our four-story townhouse and squeezed into two floors of a building we now rent from the University to save money, while remaining independent and focusing on content.
Beyond that, our budget has been cut to a fraction of what it once was. Our team of student editors lost their paychecks because we couldn’t afford payroll. Our page count has been reduced. Advertising revenue has dwindled.
But despite these hardships, The Hatchet has continued to hold our University accountable and polish the next generation of top journalists.
To us – the students who staff this newsroom – The Hatchet is not just an independent student newspaper. The Hatchet is not just the award-winning stories that land on the front page or the photos prominently displayed on our website. The Hatchet is, and always will be, a group of students driven by passion who work tirelessly week after week to produce this newspaper.
To help The Hatchet’s staff continue to find their passions, strengthen skills that will carry our careers and hold GW accountable, please consider supporting us.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Renee Pineda based on conversation with The Hatchet’s editorial board, which is composed of managing director Elise Zaidi, managing editor Matt Cullen, design editor Zach Slotkin, culture editor Matt Dynes, sports editor Barbara Alberts and contributing opinions editor Kiran Hoeffner-Shah.