My failed efforts to rescue The Daily Campus at SMU

Like I needed another thing to deal with this semester — instructors and students at my alma mater decided to kill off its print newspaper, The Daily Campus, and have the independent student media operation absorbed by the university’s journalism program. It’s something my fellow Daily Campus alums and I have long feared.

Once we found about about it in early April, we swept in to try to stage a rescue, raising nearly $40,000 in a few weeks and urging the non-profit’s board to reconsider its decision to fold and hand over assets to the university. They declined, much to our dismay.

I wrote about it. A lot. Here are some links.

On April 5, I wrote about why having an independent student media company matters to a private school university with a history of censoring unpopular news, in this column, “Independence Matters.”

On April 27, after our last efforts were rejected by the Student Media Company board, I published our pitch to save the operation and keep it running for two years while we tried to make it sustainable.

On May 1, I partnered with fellow alum Jessica Huseman, now a reporter for ProPublica, about lessons we learned in our failed efforts to save The Daily Campus, for Columbia Journalism Review.

I also was interviewed by several news outlets that covered the story:

Dallas Morning News, May 17: “At SMU, a big fight erupts over its little newspaper as Daily Campus alumni fear censorship”

Texas Observer, May 17: “SMU just lost its independent student newspaper. Is your college next?”

Central Track, May 11: “What Happened to SMU’s Student Newspaper?”

Dallas Morning News, April 5: “SMU to take control of student newspaper, dissolve independent media company”

 

 

 

 

 

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Author: Chip Stewart

Mix one part attorney, one part journalism professor, one part journal editor, and zero parts sleep -- that's me. In this blog, I hope to add to the sum of human knowledge by getting at things that frighten the old guard of media law -- social media, intellectual property on the web, and how our future robot overlords will apply the First Amendment. My main job is as a journalism professor at TCU, primarily teaching law and ethics of mass communication. On the side, I serve as editor of Community Journalism. And I've written some books.

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