USA TODAY: Student Press Feeling ‘Financial Pinch’; J-Schools in ‘Adapt-or-Die Mode’

As I noted in a post late last month, student newspapers are struggling financially.  The decade-long plights of the professional press have at last weaved their way into the land of collegemediatopia.  If not quite a time of reckoning for some campus papers, we have definitely entered a prolonged period of profound change– cutbacks, weary sighs, and hopefully some spirited reinventions.

USA TODAY is the latest outlet to weigh in with a “student press times are tough” rundown, declaring the current state a week ago as a “financial pinch.”  It is a feeling a number of high- and low-profile campus pubs have been experiencing lately.

According to the USAT piece (hat tip to College Media Review editor Robert Bergland), “Most of the conditions causing hard times for newspapers in the private sector– declining print advertising revenue and difficulties making the Web a moneymaker– are also affecting student newspapers at colleges and universities throughout the country.  Add to the mix the budget-cutting realities that colleges and universities now face, and many journalism schools have entered adapt-or-die mode.”

My Take: The brief report’s round-up of student newspaper suffering is on-point– if a bit late to this particular pity party.  But I’m not sold on the notion put forward that j-schools are in “adapt-or-die mode”  Like many disciplines within higher ed. right now, journalism schools and programs are adapting, sure.  But I haven’t come across reports of j-schools facing life-or-death administrative struggles, outside funding declines or dramatic losses in undergraduate or graduate enrollment.

Some programs are being thrashed or shuttered in California (one example included in the lede of the USAT article), but that has been part of the larger cost-cutting at public colleges and universities statewide– not a direct attack on journalism education specifically.


Time to Wake Up: Independent Student Newspapers are Struggling Financially

Daily Californian Loses Fight for Student Funding Help– on a Technicality

UCONN’s Daily Campus in ‘Dire Straits’ Financially; Editor Writes SOS Letter to Students

Daily Illini is Up $150,000; For the First Time, Students Will Help Fund the Paper

California Community College Newspaper Gets the Boot Due to Budget Cuts


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