U of L not funding future of journalism

Editorial Board

Now more than ever, it is imperative that colleges across the nation prepare future journalists to be the eyes and ears of the public and protect its interests from corrupt individuals and harmful situations. One of the best and most meaningful ways student journalists can learn is by working at their campus newspaper. The University of Louisville has decided to ignore that responsibility to save a few dollars.

The university announced that they would stop buying advertisement space in the Louisville Cardinal beginning next year citing a troubling budget deficit. Last year, the university bought $60,000 worth of ad space and cut that amount to $20,000 for the 2016-2017 school year. The Cardinal’s Editor-in-Chief Kyeland Jackson told the Kentucky Kernel that he got the impression that the student paper wasn’t a top priority for university administration to buy marketing and advertising space and that his staff wasn’t surprised by the sudden move.

“They were used to things just not going our way,” Jackson told the Kernel.

Student journalism allows future reporters to not only practice gathering the news, but also capture and create stories that make waves. The Cardinal was at the forefront of reporting on the prostitution scandal surrounding the Louisville’s Men’s Basketball team in late 2015. Andree McGee, former director of basketball operations at Louisville, allegedly paid for and arranged prostitutes to meet potential basketball recruits for roughly four years.

The newspaper also fairly criticized and investigated former university President James Ramsey, who came under fire after funds were mishandled by his administration and numerous other scandals during his 14-year term at the university. A university conflict of interest officer accused Ramsey of knowingly committing official misconduct and allowing two employees to misuse funds for over a year. The Cardinal reported Ramsey stepped down in late 2016 and continues to closely monitor the university’s search for a new president.

By not buying the ad space that the newspaper relies on, administration at Louisville says that it will not provide a public forum for student voice. A student newspaper creates space for its campus community to publish opinions and learn about issues affecting that community directly. As Louisville tries to fix major problems at the university, ranging from sports team scandals to possibly losing college accreditation, shouldn’t students have a space for input to criticize these problems? Louisville said no, and this move has a $60,000 price tag.

Every student newspaper is funded differently. Some newspapers, like the Kentucky Kernel, are largely financially independent but receive student fee money to help pay for professional staff advisers and training. The advertisements Louisville’s administration used to buy was the way it chose to do it.

When Louisville created its last budget, maybe it did not realize what it was saying by cutting this funding, but it said it nevertheless: student journalism and student voice is not a priority for the University of Louisville.

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