The Badger Herald began as an experiment — a conservative counterpoint to a campus swept under the wing of liberalism in the 1960s. Since 1969, we have stepped away from our conservative roots, but our guiding mission still reigns. As an independent publication, it is The Badger Herald’s goal to reflect the voice of the student body of the University of Wisconsin and to do so in a way that is objective and unbiased. It is for this reason that The Badger Herald Editorial Board proudly stands with college newspapers across America to #SaveStudentNewsrooms.
Using the internet as a means to consume news continues to endanger print media, and college papers are no exception. For many, ad revenue simply is not enough. This causes publications to reduce the number print issues, only publish digitally or even affiliate with their school to keep their doors open.
But, by affiliating with the establishment, the paper may never truly reflect the voice of the students. Independent student newspapers are free to criticize university policies and report on issues that the university may want to keep quiet. For instance, the State News at Michigan State University was at the forefront of the misconduct allegations surrounding gymnastics coach Larry Nassar. Obviously, cases of sexual misconduct are not positive reflections on the university and could have been disregarded had the State News been university subsidized.
The Badger Herald is no different, as our independent status allows us the privilege to hold university officials accountable for their actions and inability to act on student demands.
Independent student newsrooms are central to the university experience. The stories they tell connect thousands of students, making large campuses feel like one cohesive unit. They provide a space for students to become informed on local issues and engage in relevant discourse. But most importantly, independent student newspapers represent the actual opinions of the student body — regardless of the university administration’s beliefs or behaviors. Given the recent Board of Regents’ actions stifling free speech on campus, now more than ever, unbiased and uncensored news is vital to the voice of UW’s student body.
The field of journalism continues to face obstacles that some believe will be insurmountable. Revenue from advertisements continues to decrease while donations are few and far between. But shutting down is not the answer. Discontinuing print issues is not the answer, nor is affiliating with the university.
The answer lies with the students. All students, regardless of the institution they attend, deserve to be heard. So continue to use your voices to speak the truth and fight for what is right. The Badger Herald will continue to make sure your voices are heard, but we can only do so if we #SaveStudentNewsrooms.
The Editorial Board serves to represent the voice of the Badger Herald editorial department, distinct from the newsroom, and does not necessarily reflect the views of each staff member.