Staff Editorial

STAFF EDITORIAL: Slashed Budgets Won’t Stop Student or Local Media — But Your Support May Help

Emily Rosca | The PhoenixStudent and local media are facing reduced budgets and staffs, but the support of readers can help them bridge the gap.

Local news is in danger, and The Atlantic’s November cover story focusing on the Chicago Tribune is a stark reminder of that.

The Chicago Tribune — which describes itself as the largest newsroom in the Midwest — is chronicled as being reduced to the size of a Chipotle. It only makes sense given the paper has lost nearly 30% of its editorial staff since Alden Global Capital first bought a stake in it. Alden also owns stakes in The Denver Post and the Orlando Sentinel, among other papers around the country.

“It makes me profoundly sad to think about what the Trib was, what it is, and what it’s likely to become,” David Axelrod, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, told The Atlantic.

While the piece leaves out mentions of the Chicago Sun-Times, Block Club Chicago and Triibe, the point being made stands.

We are certain you’ve seen us write pieces like this before, and it definitely won’t be the last.

Despite the majority of the piece’s focus being on local media, student media organizations are seeing many of the same issues as advertising revenue decreases for newspapers across the board and the places that fund them find more ways to squeeze money out of them.

We’ve had to deal with budget cuts of our own. While Loyola welcomed its largest incoming class in history, we had to make decisions about what positions to eliminate and whether or not we could print. 

We all share the responsibilities of those we couldn’t afford to hire — the photo editor, who ensures every story has a visual; the video editor, who creates stories in a more accessible format; the opinion editor, who helps to give the everyday student a place in our publication; the web editor, who makes sure our online stories are running 24/7; our copy editors, who kept us all on our toes; and our graphics editor, who utilized data visualization and the Adobe suite to break down the numbers our reporters work so hard to dig up.

And in addition to all this, we now print less than a third of the papers we did in January 2020.

We had to do all of this just to print our paper. Some didn’t have the choice. 

Illinois State University’s student newspaper, The Vidette, printed their last edition April 27. They — like many print news sources — have suffered from significant decreases in advertising revenue, and “considerable reductions” in the paper’s operating budget weren’t enough to bridge the gap, the Vidette reported.

Despite this, the Vidette’s faculty advisor shared a hopeful outlook on the future of the paperless paper, and it’s something we can all borrow some hope from.

“T​his place can — and will — continue to be the stage for young people who wish to tell the important stories of the day,” Plevka said. “They can ­— and will — continue to make a difference.”

We can — and will — continue to serve the Loyola community. We are dedicated to holding the university and local government accountable. 

And we couldn’t do it without your support. 

Every time you pick up a paper, every time you click on our site and every time you share a story, you are helping us to continue what we do. But it’s not just our paper, but every student paper in the city. 

So please, support local and student media — we are lucky enough to be in a city full of it. The Northwestern Daily, The DePaulia and The Columbia Chronicle are just a few of the many, many papers worth your support.

Without them, there would be no one to  keep nursing home’s in check when they fail to protect their residents from the COVID-19 pandemic or question the accessibility of the Title IX office at DePaul.

Media that hyper-focuses on a local area is important — the press is called the fourth estate for good reason.

Thank you for your support, and please keep it up. We all need it.

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