Daily Californian Tells Students ‘We Need Your Help’: Fair Request or Student Media Monopoly?

Today’s issue of The Daily Californian at the University of California, Berkeley, features a special front page that includes an appeal for help with funding and a blank top-of-the-fold (hat tip Romenesko).

According to the paper’s editor-in-chief Tomer Ovadia, the white space is a symbolic example of what would be missing from reader’s lives if the Daily Cal ceased to exist.  It has become a more genuine concern in recent years as revenue troubles have led to cutbacks in page size, staff pay, and the number of issues printed each week.

As Ovadia writes, “For 141 years, this paper has been a regular fixture on campus, informing students of the most important issues affecting our community. . . . Today’s front page above the fold is blank. There are no stories on the ASUC election, nothing about this year’s increase in crime, no photos of police officers using force against protesters and no notice of future tuition increases.  The coverage you are used to is on page 2, and after today, it will continue as it has since 1871.  But if the V.O.I.C.E. Initiative [the name of the student fees support proposal] does not pass, that may not be the case for long.”

The Daily Cal itself has reported that the $2-per-student-per-semester fee has met with some criticism from staffers at other UC Berkeley student media.  The current funding request is aimed at having students solely help support the paper.  A previous version of the request included a $5-per-student-per-semester fee aimed at financially assisting a number of undergraduate and graduate student media on campus.  That plan broke down amid concerns about the Daily Cal‘s apparent lack of transparency regarding its current finances and its plans for how it would utilize the additional funding.

A representative for CalTV: “[The initiative is a] further monopolization of campus publications that is inherently in violation of [a] diverse and inclusive spirit.”

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  1. […] Daily Californian lost its fight to secure student funding help, on a technicality.  As I previously posted, Daily Cal editors had been working with the student senate at the University of California, […]