MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Across the country, student newspapers at universities are either losing funding, cutting print editions or even closing their doors for good.
But student journalists at the MSU Reporter say they aren’t going to let that happen to them.
They say the Reporter has provided them valuable hands-on experience as they learn the journalism craft, and after years of declining funds and revenue, student staff created an online fundraising campaign to keep the lights on.
“We are in a deficit, so we need to raise the funds for that and we are responsible for that - partially responsible for that deficit - so we need to find a way to make it up. Fundraising is one of those things we’ve been doing,” says editor-in-chief Madison Diemert.
Declining readership and advertising sales are issues many newspapers are experiencing, and part of that is an industry shift away from print and towards digital.
“Through advertising that’s our main source of income. Business is moving to digital advertising, so we are trying to move towards that,” says advertising sales representative Nathan Norman.
Even with the challenges, students say working at the Reporter is teaching them skills they couldn’t learn in the classroom.
“Although the Reporter is print, we do face a lot of challenges. I think it’s is really important to be able to think and learn as a team together, and kind of figure out how to act and figure out a solution of how we can advocate for our businesses and not just ourselves,” says advertising sales representative Kali Allard.
Many newspapers, including the Reporter, have shifted more focus to their online editions and have utilized social media as a means to reach more readers as print readership declines.
“It’s decreasing and eventually it will get worse, unfortunately. But then again, working at the Reporter means not just print journalism, it’s also teaching us how to transition into digital,” says staff photographer and web editor Mansoor Ahmad.
“This place is really like a laboratory. When biology students have their labs and they go off dissect their animals and stuff - that’s their laboratory. They’re learning hands-on experiences. This to us is our laboratory and we’re learning hands-on experiences,” says Diemert.
"So I've learned a lot about marketing as well as just direct ad sales through business. I'm a business major so I've learned a lot through just working here."
“Working at the Reporter has definitely been a rewarding experience, to say the least. When I first came in I did not know how far I could go with it but know it’s given me so many different opportunities and I get to meet new people every single day," says Ahmad.
“The MSU Reporter is very important to me. It’s a way to showcase the things I’ve learned in the classroom from my marketing classes to professional selling classes. You learn so much in the classroom, but with this experience, I’ve learned so much more,” says Norman.
“Newspapers are an integral part of our society. It’s part of our culture, and without that, we lose a whole entire part of our culture. It’s the same with campus newspapers,” says Diemert.
Funding for this year’s budget at the Reporter will be finalized by the student government later this month.
To donate to the MSU Reporter, visit the newspaper’s website.