Student-run college newspapers still value print

I wrote for the Daily Californian newspaper when I went to UC Berkeley as an undergraduate in the late ’70s. It was a great experience. Now I attend some of the alumni gatherings, and I am a regular donor. I value the idea of an independent, student-run newspaper, such as the Daily Cal.

As a result, it seemed natural that I would want to donate to the Johns Hopkins University student newspaper now that our son is preparing to go there in the fall in the Class of 2024 (albeit as a STEM major, not a journalism student). He enjoys being on the staff of his high-school yearbook and has written some articles for the school newspaper.

When I received an email about donating to the JHU newspaper last week — one of the nation’s oldest student-run newspapers — I found it interesting that the newspaper’s editors still value print. They observed “there’s nothing better than the experience of sitting down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper in your hand.”

Imagine that! After all, this is the iGeneration — not my generation. The JHU email directed me to a “donate” button that read:

“Since 1896 The Johns Hopkins News-Letter has reported, informed and — we hope — entertained the Hopkins and wider Baltimore community by providing a platform for student and community voices. From the sit-in at Garland Hall to the volleyball team’s historic season or the Annual Culture Show, we have showcased the diverse range of student and community experiences for the last 124 years. 

“Now, as one of the nation’s oldest weekly student-run and editorially and financially independent newspapers, we need your help. Student papers across the nation are struggling with the financial burden of print, and many have subsequently been forced into solely publishing their content online. While we acknowledge that our online readership is larger than ever, we know that right now, The News-Letter also belongs in print. 

“Our print issues allow us to guide your experience of reading the paper and help us to reach an otherwise inaccessible readership while serving as a meaningful, permanent historical record for the Hopkins community. And there’s nothing better than the experience of sitting down with a cup of coffee and a newspaper in your hand. 

“Any donation helps. Whether it’s the price of that cup of coffee or donating $100 and seeing your name in print, we thank you for supporting The News-Letter.”

A video explaining the newspaper’s mission is here. The newspaper’s alumni include the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Russell Baker, among others.

(Credit: Johns Hopkins Newsletter)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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