The Queens Chronicle has always operated with an important objective: to be the voice of the students around campus. Each day, we work tirelessly to try and represent the people of Queens to the best of our ability, but this task has become more difficult as of late.
Next year, I will be assuming the position of Editor in Chief for our small student newspaper. In doing so, I take over leadership responsibilities for an organization that lacks funding, manpower and a dedicated readership.
Student media is not just a side objective for those whose majors align properly to participate in. It is a fundamental part of campus life and student representation. We strive to provide high-end, unbiased reporting that gives students an ability to put their voice in the limelight. In order to maintain our integrity and provide fair representation for all, we operate independently of direct funding or control from Queens itself, instead relying on student interest to survive.
Unfortunately, student interest is rapidly fading. This year, we struggled to recruit fresh writers, getting by with two year round participants and a handful of contributors at various periods of time. Article output was slowed, and it appeared to me that reader interest fell with it. I am saddened to say that I was many times informed by surprised students that they were unaware Queens even had a student newspaper.
This problem is not unique to Queens. Student media across the country is under attack, as more and more publications are unable to maintain readerships and funding, and are forced to fold completely or become a puppet media outlet under the direction of their school. Should they refuse to do either, they risk fading away into complete irrelevance, a prospect that threatens the Chronicle right now.
Melissa Gomez of the Independent Florida Alligator, student newspaper at the University of Florida, organized a movement. #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Many college papers stand with the Alligator on this day, and the Queens Chronicle is one of them.
As the new Editor in Chief, I have a request for all of our readers, be them students, alumni, faculty, or outside observers. Please recognize the media around you. Please understand that they silently work to represent you each day, to allow the community at Queens to know what transpires around campus. Student run publications are fighting to stay alive all across the country. Look for them. Read them. We want to continue to be the voice of the students who may otherwise not have one.
The battle to preserve student reporting can be further explored at savestudentnewsrooms.com. Please do not let your own student newspaper down. Save student newsrooms. Likewise, never hesitate to reach out and contact the Chronicle with questions, concerns, story proposals, anything. We are here for the students and the community of Queens.