Free The Daily Helmsman!: Memphis Paper Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign Amid School Cuts

The Daily Helmsman at the University of Memphis has launched a fundraising campaign, in part to fill the financial gap caused by a sudden, dramatic funding cut approved by the school.

As I recently posted, a Memphis student fees allocation committee overseen by a small group of administrators and undergraduate leaders slashed Helmsman funding by $25,000 for the upcoming academic year– a full third of the usual fees assistance the paper receives.  Some current and former Helmsman staffers, Memphis alums, and the local press view the cutback as possible retaliation for its no-holds-barred editorial content.  The Memphis president ordered an investigation.

The fundraising campaign, “Free The Daily Helmsman,” is hoping to raise enough money from outside donors to enable the paper “to become financially free from the university.”  As the campaign’s homepage states, “A free press is vital to the campus.  By becoming financially independent, the Helmsman can be sure that when it reports on important issues that the administration or the Student Government Association might wish to suppress, nobody in university leadership will be able to punish the newspaper by cutting funds”

Helmsman editor-in-chief Chelsea Boozer (the best student journalist in the U.S. at the moment, in my opinion) told The Commercial-Appeal: “I am not against the university.  I just don’t want the paper’s existence and ethics to have to rely on a committee that could become mad about our coverage.”

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