Editorial: This is why we want The State Press to matter to you

The State Press Editorial Board stands with student newsrooms across the country this #SaveStudentNewsrooms Day

The State Press has been covering ASU in some capacity for almost 130 years, since before Tempe Normal School was a university or Arizona was a state.

We've operated as an insert in The East Valley Tribune, a publication of the ASU journalism school and, since the '70s, as an editorially independent, student-run newsroom beneath the umbrella of ASU Student Media.

We work to serve, challenge and provoke the University community we serve. And with more than 100,000 enrolled, it's a big community to cover.

We're celebrating #SaveStudentNewsrooms, a nationwide movement to raise awareness of the importance of student media around the country.

Tell us when big things happen, call us out when we're missing something and support us in the work we do. You can donate here — or by clicking our new donate button on the bottom of this website.

Recently, The Daily Campus at Southern Methodist University, just a thousand miles away, announced it will be shutting down independent publication in May, along with its paper’s print edition. The newspaper will survive in an online edition overseen by the university’s journalism department. Its editorial board has major concerns about the loss of its editorial independence.

It's the latest example of journalistic loss to lack of funds. The traditional model of journalism, which relied on print advertisements, is dying.

The State Press stopped printing and went all digital in 2014, and our predecessors embraced it as an opportunity to incorporate more multimedia storytelling. But it was by no means an exclusively easy or painless transition. Change is hard, and The State Press is fortunate to have editorial independence written into its bylaws. Not all student newspapers have that.



Bold, Risk-taking, Digital

The State Press gives students a platform to pursue stories that inform, challenge and shine light on the ASU community. Nowadays, we do that online at statepress.com and through our print magazine that publishes three times a year.

“(Editorial independence) is the whole key to a true student media experience," Jason Manning, State Press publisher and director of Student Media, said. "Without it, it’s not the experience that we should be providing to students."

Student media deserves autonomy. If students themselves are not the voices of a student media organization, it cannot rightfully represent the student body. When student media and publications are dependent upon their university they have crumpled the foundation of one of the strongest pillars of ethical journalism: act independently.

Student newsrooms create a critical-thinking and passionate environment that cannot be understated in terms of importance to a student journalist’s experience at university. Student newsroom make a difference in the communities we serve.

This academic year, we've updated our salary database of ASU employees, made an interactive map detailing where ASU gave the most parking tickets and, recently, covered the journalism school’s relationship with Sinclair Broadcast Group amid must-run controversy.

Those stories were reported, visualized, edited and published entirely by students. Other student publications around the country have done the same. Last week, The Daily Orange broke the nationally covered story on Syracuse's Theta Tau fraternity engaging in racist behavior that would get the group suspended.

And it was student leaders at The Alligator who started the campaign to save student newsrooms in the first place.

Student media, from The Daily Campus to The State Press, reports on subjects the University will not, and it understands students in a way the University does not. Student voices are important, and losing independence runs the risk of leaving them left unheard.

The success of our newsroom is contingent on the dedication and drive of our team of student reporters. We publish five days per week, reporting and editing on top of finishing degrees. Your support for our work makes it worth it.

“Student journalists have a perspective that no one else has," Manning said. "Student journalists are living the experience of the university, and so student journalists’ perspectives and interests or focus is going to be original, and it’s going to be unique in a way that you’re not going to get from any other news outlet.”

Student journalism and our editorial independence matters, and we cannot let it slip away.


Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com.

Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.

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