Update, May 15: Alumni's efforts apparently came too late to save the student newspaper from folding its print edition as well as the paper's publishing company from shutting down. More here.
Southern Methodist University alumni are raising funds to try to preserve the independent student media company that’s scheduled for dissolution next month.
Student Media Company is shutting down due to lack of funds after its board voted to dissolve the company in January. As a result, SMU’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus, will fold in May after nearly 103 years in print and will live online under the control of university’s journalism department.
Alumni last week launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $125,000 to cover operating costs for the next school year while working with the board to restructure the company.
The paper's editorial board fears that dissolving the media company will prevent student journalists from reporting freely on university matters.
"The administration attempting to censor media is the entire reason the Student Media Company began, but now students may not have the opportunity to report the truth without fear of retaliation from the university," the editorial said.
Student media alumni, including ProPublica reporter Jessica Huseman, agree.
Huseman, a former editor in chief of the paper, said her “most transformative opportunity” at SMU was working for The Daily Campus.
Other alumni have echoed Huseman's sentiments on social media.
Student journalists are hopeful.
“If somebody comes in and says, ‘Here’s x amount of dollars, I want to save Student Media,’ we want to be able to still open ourselves up to that,” Kylie Madry, current editor in chief of The Daily Campus, told The Dallas Morning News earlier this month.
If there was a sufficient, last-minute donation, the board could vote to allow the company to stay open, the Morning News reported.
If the company isn’t spared, SMU’s fashion magazine, SMU Look, will also move under control of the journalism department. It’s unclear what will happen to the Rotunda, the university’s yearbook.