EDITORIAL BOARD: Student newsrooms are here to serve you. All we ask for in return is adequate funding

TSL staff members visited KPCC, National Public Radio’s Southern California affiliate, in Pasadena a few weeks ago for a tour. (Courtesy: KPCC)

Today, college newsrooms nationwide are participating in the #SaveStudentNewsrooms campaign, which raises awareness about the importance of student newspapers on college campuses and the struggles they face.

Student news organizations exist to give a voice to students and act as a check on school administrations that make decisions that affect those students.

We send reporters to faculty and student government meetings. We investigate people and institutions when students have complaints. And we always include student quotes.

In short, we’re here to serve you.

However, several obstacles inhibit us from doing our job — especially a lack of funding. We receive a small labor budget from Pomona College, and the bulk of our printing budget is left up to the discretion of the student governments, which we cover impartially, regardless of their allocations to TSL.

Because these funds aren’t sufficient to keep our newspaper running, we also solicit ads and sell subscriptions. The money we make from these sources allow us to barely scrape by, though.

We’re unable to pay our hardworking writers and other staff members. Despite these drawbacks, they continue to churn out high-quality, impactful content each week.

Here are some examples.

In October, we broke the news of Claremont McKenna College’s decision to withdraw from the Keck Science Department, providing an objective perspective with quotes from shocked faculty members who weren’t involved in the decision-making process. The schools announced the news to the community over 24 hours later, promising to gather faculty input going forward.

In December, we looked into student complaints regarding Pomona’s Dean of Wellness Jan Collins-Eaglin. Whether by coincidence or not, the day after our TSL reporter interviewed Collins-Eaglin about the allegations, the school announced she was entering a phased-out retirement.

But we don’t just cover news.

A few weeks ago, we sent a reporter to Pasadena with Harvey Mudd College students who were playing a prank on Caltech. She witnessed their efforts firsthand, and as a result, was able to tell a fun, lively story with plenty of detail.

We’re always trying to write stories that matter to students.

That’s why we spent several weeks examining a spiritual group that lives in an off-campus house and was rumored to be a cult. No other publication — not the Claremont Courier, not the Los Angeles Times — would have been able to cover the story like we did.

They don’t have the same access to students or an audience that would necessarily care about the group.

We sent reporters to the house to interview students and talked on the phone with their spiritual leader. We published a 2,500-word story, clearing up many of the rumors floating around campus.

The article garnered over 7,000 views online, and many students could be heard across the campuses the following week discussing the group. One student commented on our Facebook post: “This is the campus news I wanted to see.”

We’re happy to hear students reading the story and responding to it. After all, we’re your newspaper, and we’re here to give you a voice.

In return, we simply ask that you adequately fund us — whether it’s through buying a subscription or taking out an ad.

TSL’s editorial board is comprised of its editor-in-chief and two managing editors, and does not represent the views of other TSL staff members or the publication as a whole.

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