Thursday, November 08, 2007

SPJ asking questions about reduction in budget for student newspaper at UMR

I was a college newspaper editor once. Now I am the president of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter in Springfield which SPJ is an organization that takes the First Amendment, media ethics and freedom of the press (professional and college) very seriously.

Our Springfield chapter was asked this week to look further into a situation where the budget of the student newspaper at the University of Missouri - Rolla was decreased (back in February 2007).

So far, most of what I know about the situation has come from blogs or newspaper articles. Folks (students and instructors) on campus seem to have decided not to talk about it.

But you can read a blog at the student newspaper about the situation about the situation.

Or you might also want to read the national SPJ president's blog for more on this subject.

Members of Society of Professional Journalists chapters in Springfield, Kansas City and St. Louis are asking questions on the funding issue for The Miner.

If the student budget has been cut, I would encourage the students to not give up. There is a saying that necessity is the mother of invention. If the budget has been greatly reduced, and staff still wants to be paid, what about moving the publication to an online format? In fact, MU has a great online format that can be used (see information on the emprint format at Students at a school for engineers would probably like an online format.

I had a similar experience while I was in college. And, then again four or five years after I was out of college, the student newspaper had the same problem again. The funding for the student newspaper was cut by one-third so the staff sold more advertisements. In a few years, the student funding came back.

But secondly, if the students at UMR are putting out a poor newspaper with lots of mistakes then they may deserve to have funding pulled. "Welcome to the real world."

Here in Springfield if you put out a mistake-ridden TV newscast you loose viewers (and then advertisers) and eventually staff. If you put out a horrible newspaper filled with mistakes you will see advertisers disappear, budgets will shrink and staff will be sent camping.

Unless there is more to the story, I'd say, "welcome to the real world" and find a good copy editor. I'll keep you posted as more information becomes available.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are kidding me! This is something junior high kids would do ... not college students. Right?

The problem might be that Rolla does not have a journalism program and instead has a campus full of engineers. I can tell you from my own work experience that engineers may understand numbers but they don't understand the importance of communication.

8:05 PM, November 11, 2007  

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