Professional newspapers everywhere are facing a difficult transition as website views trump actual reporting and dollars drive the industry.
The emergence of alternative forms of writing by companies such as Buzzfeed and the Odyssey fill social media feeds leaving imperative news buried beneath heaps of unintelligible “listicles.”
“She swerves to avoid hitting a cat; what happens next is shocking!”
“37 signs you and your bestie will be friends forever.”
“An open letter to my 19-year-old self.”
It’s a brain drain.
Still, newspapers exist as a bastion of hope for the future. So long as newsstands remain full, honest and fair, information will be available to the masses. Decreasing the number of newspapers is taking away the voice of professional, accountable reporters and offering it to the amateur blogger who is not subject to fact-checking or—in some cases—spell check.
Our fellow student journalists to the south at Grand Valley State recently fell victim to a significant budget cut. The Lakers behind the twice-weekly Lanthorn have grown accustomed to a yearly budget of $70,000, but next year will see a $15,000 reduction in funding. That’s a 21 percent decrease.
According to the faculty advisor of two of GVSU’s three student media outlets, there will no longer be enough money in the media budget to sustain all three outlets.
A head was carelessly lopped off from the Grand Valley media Cerberus leaving the other two to fill the responsibilities of the whole. It simply cannot be done.
The incident at Grand Valley State is not isolated. Multiple college newspapers across the country have faced threats of budget cuts in recent years.
It damages students aspiring to be journalists. It damages students searching for a reliable news source focused on their community. It damages society.