The Iowa State Daily will join student newspapers across the nation Wednesday in advocating for the right to a free press and the ability to continue servicing the public with information vital to a successful democracy.
The Student Press Law Center, a strong advocate for the First Amendment that specializes in protecting the rights of student journalists, is calling for grassroots support Wednesday — Student Press Freedom Day.
The goal is to recognize the tireless and important work of student journalists in their communities and to highlight the necessity of a free and independent press.
Here’s why this day is critical.
Today, there are just 16 daily student newspapers in the United States. While many newsrooms are switching from a print-based to digital-only medium to better match the wants and needs of consumers, revenues cannot keep up.
This mirrors a loss in professional newsrooms, too. From 2008 to 2017, newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 23 percent, according to the Pew Research Center.
What this translates to is not just a loss in staffing and equipment, but the sheer inability to do anymore than match the 24/7 news cycle. Student journalists are capable of writing in-depth, long-form investigations. Student journalists are capable of creating documentaries. Student journalists are capable, a long as they are invested in.
Last week, the media industry lost 1,000 journalists to layoffs specifically in digital-based publications such as the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed news. Journalism students today, no matter their experience, will have to fight for jobs in a shrinking market and the classroom is not enough to prepare them.
What the Iowa State Daily does is help fill this gap and connect student journalists to an experiential learning environment. The Iowa State Daily not only provides the basis for how to report and write a story but exist in a professional workspace.
Last semester, the Iowa State Daily reported stories specific to our community that would have otherwise gone unnoticed if left to the city or regional media outlets.
Take for example the recently implemented trademark policy that has riled many student organizations for what they felt was a lack of communication and thought into the impact it would have.
Over the course of the fall semester, the Iowa State Daily published 22 articles related to the issue. Other news organizations published only one.
The students at the Iowa State Daily serve as watchdogs of the community. Just as it benefits our staff to gain the experience, it benefits Iowa State to see an issue from all sides and have an unbiased, objective news source to get information from.
On Student Press Freedom Day, the Iowa State Daily asks that you take the time to get to know your student newspaper. Visit our website, like us on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to the Daily Dose, our email newsletter.
We also hope that you enjoy testimonials from our staff — both current and past — about what this organization means to them.
The Iowa State Daily has served the Iowa State community for 128 years and we hope to serve you for 128 more.