NC State Technician: “The Paper Needs Your Help”

In a rather shocking new editorial, the few remaining staff of The Technician, the student newspaper at North Carolina State University, have issued an extraordinarily blunt public assessment of the newspaper’s weaknesses.  The basic premise: Help us, or very soon we will not exist.

As the editorial began, “Technician is looking down the business end of the barrel and is in serious need of student involvement. . . . The paper needs your help, regardless of age or experience. Without student support, the paper could cease publication at the end of the semester. . . . Today’s paper was only in the stand because of what the staff would describe as a printing miracle.”

According to a separate Technician report, the paper’s quality decline rapidly accelerated last fall when a lack of staffers in higher editorial positions left the multi-tasking editor in chief “overwhelmed and overworked.”  The Technician piece: “While there were sufficient writers to keep the paper writing, a number of leadership positions were left empty and [the top editor] took the additional responsibilities of managing or contributing to the news and features sections as well as writing stories for the paper.”

His extra effort in the newsroom cost him in the classroom, leading to poor grades and, ironically, by extension an automatic suspension from the paper. So the guy holding the paper together by the skin of his ink-stained hands was suddenly gone.  Cue freefall, or what one editor called “sort of mayhem.”

No one stepped in to fill the sudden leadership gap.  Instead, more staff left, as the paper’s quality suffered, and vice-versa.  The current crisis: No one (or at least no one qualified) has sought out the editorship for next year.  A committee has now been formed that “will be tasked to come up with a survival strategy for the paper,” including recruiting and hiring a suitable EIC.  The student body president, who will be on this committee, told Raleigh News & Observer (which broke the story): “I can’t allow the newspaper to close, and we as a university can’t allow that to happen.”

My first piece of advice: Talk to The Hilltop.  As I previously blogged, the student newspaper at Howard University in D.C. resurrected itself in fall 2008 after a brief bleak period.

3 Responses to “NC State Technician: “The Paper Needs Your Help””
  1. Three threats for student newspapers. I suspect this is only the tip of the iceberg.

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  1. […] to get a revolution from professors and advisors, if we want to move college media forward (and we desperately need to), the students are the ones who will be doing […]

  2. […] NC State Technician: "The Paper Needs Your Help": Not specifically online-related, but Dan Reimold covers the shaky status of the Technician as staff levels are depleted and no one has stepped forward to apply for the Editor-in-Chief position for next year. A sad story for college journalism, and one that I hope works out for the best. […]