Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Responsible journalism in a time of turmoil

<int journalism is in a decline. In many cases, the future of newspapers has been accepted with resignation and defeat. In late February, the Rocky Mountain News, Denver's oldest newspaper, went under when no one submitted a bid to buy the dying paper. Seeing "unending losses" for newspapers, Warren Buffett said in May of his company Berkshire Hathaway, "We would not buy them at any price."

Nationwide, reporters and editors are losing their jobs. Newspapers are slashing budgets and racing to find the next means of survival as it becomes more obvious that money from subscriptions and advertisements are insufficient. This trend becomes especially stark when the newspapers become newsworthy themselves.

As Editors-in-Chief of a college publication with a circulation of 1200 and a business model that operates entirely on subscriptions from parents and alumni as well as advertisements from local businesses, the question must be asked: how are we supposed to succeed when the giants of the industry are floundering?

A light at the end of tunnel lies in the example of MinnPost. After a slew of layoffs and buyouts in newspapers in the Twin Cities, a group of journalists came together to form MinnPost, an online source for accurate and reliable news. A nonprofit journalism enterprise, MinnPost states on their website, “Our goal is to create a sustainable business model for this kind of journalism, supported by corporate sponsors, advertisers, and members who make annual donations. High-quality journalism is a community asset that sustains democracy and quality of life, so we are asking people who believe in it to support our work.”

Groups like MinnPost illustrate that a lack of monetary support does not have to compromise the quality of investigative reporting.

On a smaller scale, Carleton College, with a population of under 2,000 students can boast having numerous reputable and widely-read publications such as The Lens, The Progressive, Unashamed, and The Clap, among others. The Lens Magazine recently won the Gold Medalist ranking from Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA), one of the most prestigious press associations in the country. Unashamed, a publication that began only two years ago solicits stories from students and the community about their faith or lack of it. The Clap operates under the unique rule of publishing anything as long as the submission is not anonymous.

Due to the wide range of publications, there will be always be a space for new voices and expressions. The abundance of diverse publications despite a small campus can address the diverse needs on campus. In a community of student-run publications, there must be self-regulation and personal responsibility. Since so many of these publications do not have faculty oversight, it is ever more pressing that students are mindful of the privilege to be able to address and influence the wider community. We must be intentional in the content that we present to both the student body and those invested in Carleton College.

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